FULTON, NY -Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward spoke to the Fulton Noon Rotary Club recently.
The mayor was introduced by Rotarian Dan O’Brien. Dan is also the Public Works Commissioner for the city of Fulton.
The mayor said that the city is still in a survival mode.
Most of his time is spent dealing with budget issues.
The biggest problems are cost assignments that are not controllable by the city.
This includes health care, employee pensions and a dwindling tax base.
The state assigns taxes on franchises and utilities.
Just this past week, the state came out with a half million decrease in property assessments.
The city must make up the difference.
For instance, the hydro dams on the river had an assessed value of $42 million ten years ago. Now they are assessed for only $13 million.
This hurts the financial status of city, schools and other public entities.
The employees pension fund is set for a 28 per cent of salaries payment this year.
The city has gone from 166 workers to 124 workers.
The loss of factories and businesses in recent years has devastated our tax base.
Mayor Woodward pointed out that on the positive side, the Bird’s Eye plant on Phillips Street has been sold and may create as many as 300 jobs.
The target date to open is between July and September of this year.
Much renovation and preparation is taking place now.
The Nestles plant has plans by a developer.
Some hoops must be jumped through before the plans can come to fruition, but it looks good.
A bakery wholesaler looks to bring 60 jobs to the city.
The Lake Neatahwanta cleanup should start this year.
The full cleanup may take 10 years, but within two years it could be clean enough to bring swimming back.
The Broadway bridge project is moving along according to schedule and it should be completed by 2014.