Opportunity presents itself

As the opening of the new Walmart Supercenter in Gloversville approaches, there’s reason for optimism in the city.

The completion of this project will not cure all that ails the city, but it could be the start of a new, positive chapter in the city’s history. How that chapter reads will depend, in part, on the decisions elected officials and city residents make in the near future.

The 157,100-square-foot supercenter at the end of South Kingsboro Avenue will bring in more sales tax revenue. City officials have said the store eventually could add as much as $800,00 per year in sales tax revenue. Plus, officials are anticipating additional retail development around the big store.

Gloversville has a $15.4 million budget and, as a policy group revealed in May, city property owners pay the highest combined city, school and county tax rate found in any city in the state, excluding New York City. The supercenter and its related developments alone will not solve that problem.

Gloversville will have to work hard to seize the opportunities now before it.

The city should focus on attracting additional business development around the new Walmart.

Gloversville should continue to work with the town of Johnstown to make sure future local development can proceed without hold-ups related to revenue sharing. Until a good plan is in place, this will be an issue.

More development does not automatically translate into lower taxes. City officials will have to keep spending in check.?The state comptroller noted earlier this year Gloversville has done a good job with spending restraint in the last decade. The city should continue to take a frugal approach. If Gloversville finds itself in the unusual position of being flush with cash, officials should ignore the urge to start spending freely and lower taxes instead.

The supercenter hastens the need for a plan for the downtown’s future. If large businesses are mainly interested in setting up on Gloversville’s borders, what will the downtown look like years from now? Should the city offer financial incentives for businesses to move downtown? Should the city put more focus on attracting non-retail businesses to downtown? Those are a few of the questions city residents should answer soon.