Fulton County

Fulton County supervisors pick Charles Potter as chairman

Gloversville 4th Ward Supervisor Charles Potter was elected chairman of the 16-member Fulton County

Gloversville 4th Ward Supervisor Charles Potter was elected chairman of the 16-member Fulton County Board of Supervisors for 2016 on Monday.

Potter, a Republican and last year’s vice chairman, succeeds 2015 chairman Ralph Ottuso, a Republican from the town of Caroga.

“I’m excited to be chairman,” Potter said. “I respect the other supervisors’ decision to nominate me and elect me. It’s a great feeling.”

Potter has served as 4th Ward supervisor since 2011.

Johnstown 2nd Ward Supervisor Mike Kinowski, also a Republican, was elected vice chairman.

Potter said in the coming year county leaders will be looking to build on the groundwork of the previous year, in particular the SMART Waters deal between the county and city of Gloversville to use the city’s excess water and sewer capacity to bring those services to underserved areas of the county.

In return, the county is paying the city a portion of sales tax revenue totaling $17.7 million over 20 years. The 2016 payment is about $536,000.

“That is a historic agreement that has been a long time coming,” said Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead. “Most people all throughout our region agree that that is a key component to seeing more and more economic development growth and being poised for new businesses in our area.”

According to Potter and Stead, who was reappointed to his position on Monday, county leaders have already identified the first two areas into which they plan to bring new water and sewer service.

The first priority will be the Hales Mills area near the Wal-Mart Supercenter just outside of Gloversville in the city of Johnstown.

“We believe that that area is a prime location for retail and residential investment,” Stead said.

The second is the Vail Mills area, which Stead called a “new hub of activity” with one of the county’s busiest intersections at routes 30 and 29.

The Board of Supervisors has already approved preliminary engineering work for both of those projects, Potter said, though it’s unclear how much they will cost in total.

Stead said the county will continue to develop its Tryon Technology Park at the former youth detention facility in Perth. The park saw its first tenant, medical marijuana company Vireo Health of New York, last year.

The new Fulton County Posi+tive brand launched last month will also see widespread deployment in 2016, Stead said.

All of those projects fall under the Jump Start Fulton County initiative begun in 2012 to help spur business development and job growth in the county. Stead said the county is about halfway through those plans.

As a local businessman — Potter owns Potter Industries leather wholesaler in Johnstown — Stead said Potter’s focus on supporting existing businesses and attracting new ones aligns well with the Jump Start Fulton County plan.

Potter said he’s enthusiastic about the positive new branding campaign and eager to carry that message forward as county chairman.

“I think in general we are in a good position going forward,” Potter said. “A lot of the groundwork has been laid.”

Reach Gazette reporter Kyle Adams at 723-0811, [email protected] or @kyleradams on Twitter.

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