The town and city of Oneonta are taking steps toward addressing the economic future of the greater community — together.
The town of Oneonta’s recent comprehensive plan survey provided some grist to discuss shared interests with the city, particularly economic development, according to Mayor Dick Miller.
The mayor has invited the town of Oneonta to collaborate on a website, some water services and economic development, among other avenues. Topics have been reviewed at recent meetings of each municipality.
Town Supervisor Robert Wood responded to the mayor’s June 7 letter with mixed reactions. But Wood’s June 13 reply included an invitation to next month’s Oneonta Town Board meeting to make a presentation regarding economic development, and talks have started about a website and telephone notification system.
The town of Oneonta, which surrounds the city of Oneonta, has a population of about 5,230, according to the 2010 census. Most commercial and residential development in the area in the last several decades has been in the town.
The city has a population of about 13,900, the census said. It features a small urban core with a historic Main Street, surrounded by residential neighborhoods. The city is home to A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital and Hartwick College. The SUNY Oneonta campus is partially located in the city.
Miller has advocated a merger and increased shared services as ways the municipalities can save money and improve services. Meanwhile, it would be extremely difficult to find any member of the town board who is in favor of a merger.
Last spring, Miller proposed that a joint city-town committee study merger options, but no such panel was formed. In his recent letter, Miller said he was surprised that in the town’s recent comprehensive plan survey, only 58 percent of those responding opposed a merger.
However, in May, 56 percent of Oneonta town residents responding to a Zogby survey opposed the idea of a merger with the city.