Mayor: Jobs meeting unproductive

JOHNSTOWN – Mayor Michael Julius recently met with state officials in Oneida County to talk about bringing more high-tech jobs into Fulton County.

But Julius told the Common Council on July 21 at City Hall the lack of feedback wasn’t as encouraging for him as he originally hoped for.

He said Johnstown and Fulton County is located between two growth upstate areas for high-tech jobs, and he’s not sure of the eventual impact here.

“We seem to be in the middle spot,” Julius stated.

That spot referred to by the mayor is between the Marcy Nanocenter at the State University of New York’s Institute of Technology in Utica to the west, and sites such as GlobalFoundries in Saratoga County and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering’s Albany NanoTech Complex to the east.

When Julius announced in April 2013 he was running for mayor, he issued a three-point plan. His first was to try to bring in more high-tech business, such as what he called small “computer feeder” corporations.

Julius reported to the council that he and Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger on July 18 traveled to Rome in Oneida County to speak with state officials. He said that he and Swanger, who also serves as president of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, made a push to “bring high-tech [jobs] to the area.”

The mayor said the hope is to also make this area a “supply chain” to GlobalFoundries.

Shortly after being sworn in, Julius stated to the council as a main 2014 goal: “We need to attract small to midsize companies involved in the supply chain to GlobalFoundries in Malta and the facility in Utica. By succeeding in attracting this type of industry to the area, we will be able to expand our tax base and lower our property taxes, giving much-needed relief to our citizens.”

Julius said he conferred with Steve DiMeo, president of the Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises Corp. – an organization that assists businesses to locate, grow and prosper in Oneida and Herkimer counties. He also spoke with Delores Caruso, the state Department of Labor commissioner’s Mohawk Valley regional representative.

Julius said companies have made job inquiries in the Mohawk Valley, but they seem most interested in areas such as Marcy and Utica.

Although he said he’s “still pushing” Johnstown, Julius said prior to the council meeting that he wonders whether the state’s Mohawk Valley job push is more toward the Utica area than here.

“It wasn’t as productive as I thought it would be,” the mayor said.

City Engineer Chandra Cotter said the city continues to talk to local state legislators about possible funding for bridge replacement in the city.

Councilman-at-Large Chris Swatt stated, “We’re asking people to invest in our area. We need to invest in our infrastructure.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.