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State’s Housecleaning Will Claim Long-Abandoned Public Bodies in Fulton and Oswego

Say goodbye to the Fulton Parking Authority.

The State Legislature this week continued action on a bill that would wipe out an agency that hasn’t existed for at least 30 years.

“It no longer exists,” said Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward, but “it’s still on the books.”

He said the authority existed to collect parking fees from the municipal lot behind the former Woolwoorth’s department store.  “Somebody used to sit there and collect money to park there,” Woodward said.

Woolworth’s is long gone and so is the cash parking operation.  Parking in the lot is free now.

The elimination of the Fulton Parking Authority is part of a general cleanup of abandoned or allegedly useless authorities and agencies.  Also on the list: the Oswego Parking Authority and the Oswego Urban Renewal Agency.

Authorities are created to work outside the bounds of normal government and often have an economic development component.  Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to get rid of many of these agencies.  He said they are not accountable to the public and can engage in improper borrowing practices.

It’s the same effort that has led to the proposal to eliminate dozens of commissions, including the Tug Hill Commission, which provides a common ground for the rural communities of several counties along the western edge of the Adirondacks.  That includes some towns in Oswego County’s northeast corner.

The commission’s member communities have fought to try to save it, saying it’s the relatively rare example of a commission that does its job well and provides a money-saving benefit to its communities.