Officials review state budget

JOHNSTOWN – State Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito outlined Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2014-15 executive state budget during a public presentation Thursday at City Hall.

Following release of his proposed budget, the governor sends his state department heads to various regions to explain some aspects of the spending plan. The budget is not final until adopted by the state Legislature.

Attending the session were members of the public, as well as interested local government officials, including Johnstown Mayor Michael Julius, Gloversville Mayor Dayton King and Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young.

“The government feels very adamant about the fact we should bring the message of the executive budget – and building on what we’ve done the past three years – to the people,” Destito said.

Most of the presentation dealt with overall statewide figures related to various issues being addressed by the governor. Periodically, Destito punctuated the presentation with certain funding earmarks she said will help the Mohawk Valley.

After the session, Julius told the commissioner he is looking for “money for high-tech industry” in Johnstown.

Destito said the money is in the budget and she noted Cuomo’s regional economic development council initiative already has allocated funding for high-tech projects from Utica to Albany, which will benefit Fulton County. She said she has visited Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s clean room and has seen its potential.

The OGS commissioner said she is excited about last week’s transfer of the 515-acre former Tryon Detention Center site on County Highway 107 to the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency. The IDA is working with Fulton County to redevelop it into a Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center.

Destito said Cuomo has turned the state’s budget around in recent years, from a $10 billion deficit to a $2 billion surplus. She said the governor has helped create 380,000 jobs over the past three years. She said the 2014-15 executive budget phases out a utility tax, offers a two-year property tax freeze for homeowners and offers a retirees tax credit for households making less than $100,000.

Destito said the budget will put a $2 billion Smart Schools initiative before the voters.

She said the budget also contains $180 million in capital investment to bring high-tech jobs to the state and $15 million for a weather detection system.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at