Overall, Harlem said, the county has become far too dependent on government and not-for-profit sector jobs.
“What’s going on is the result of being out of balance,” he said.
Citing a story published in Friday’s edition of The Daily Star in which Acting Otsego County Treasurer Russ Bachman suggested a tax increase could be required in order to balance the county budget in 2014, Harlem said, “We’ve got to build our tax base. And we are not going to be able to do that overnight.”
Despite the challenges facing Otsego County, Harlem said that he remains bullish on the county’s long-term prospects. “We have got all the pieces here to make it better,” the veteran businessman said. “We have a great pool of labor and talent, especially with those colleges on the hill. But we have to stop exporting our future, which is our youth.”
Vink’s report also found that the poverty rate in Otsego County increased from 11.9 percent in 2002 to 16.4 percent in 2011. Countywide, the report said, 19.8 percent of children less than 18 years of age were living in poverty in 2011.
In all age groups combined, there were 9,359 people in the county in 2011 who met the federal definition for living in poverty. In 2002, 6,917 residents were living in poverty, the report said.
Vink’s analysis determined that the median age in Otsego County is 40.9 years.
Statewide, the median age is 38 years old. The median age in most Otsego County towns is above 45 years old. The towns with the highest median age are Decatur (51.2 years old) and the town of Otsego (49.5 years old).
Buut the countywide median is lowered because the city median age, due to the large number of college students residing there, is just 22 years old.
The report on Otsego County also determined that: