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January 4, 2014

County reps brace for busy year


Cutting county jobs, Clark said, “is not the objective of the committee.”

Also assigned to the committee are Lindberg, the first county official to ring the warning bell on what others later agreed was the deteriorating financial position of the Otsego Manor, and freshman Rep. Craig Gelbsman, R-Oneonta. Like Hulse, Gelbsman is also a businessman.

Clark said she was excited by what she called the high motivation level of the new representatives, including Reps. Ed Lentz, D-New Lisbon, and Janet Hurley-Quackenbush, R-town of Oneonta.

The variety of skills the new representatives bring to the county board, she said, will help it wrestle with the many complex challenges before the county at a time when resources are scare and the state has shown no sign of offering relief for unfunded mandates.

“They are all really enthusiastic,” she said.

At the county board’s first board meeting of the new year this week, Clark was re-installed as chairman while Rep. Ed Frazier Jr., R-Unadilla, was elected vice-chairman, a position previously filled by Democrat Rich Murphy of the town of Oneonta. Murphy did not seek re-election last fall.

Lentz and Rep. James Powers, R-Butternuts, both said they will urge that the county tune-up its job creation and economic development efforts in order to attract more young people to the region and give those already here a reason to stay.

Coincidentally, an annual survey by Atlas Van Lines, released this week, found that New York was once again high on the list of states with more people moving to other states than are arriving from other states. New York was second highest in the nation with 59 percent of the moving company’s business in New York involving customers leaving the state.

Powers, a farmer, said he questions the county’s current economic development model and believes there should be greater emphasis in nurturing its potential in the agriculture sector. He suggested the county spawn businesses that could follow in the footsteps of Chobani, the yogurt company located just across the Unadilla River from South Edmeston in Chenango County.

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