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January 9, 2014

Foothills hosts Chamber talk on economy

Parking fees, a rock concert and well-received art exhibits were among factors in 2013 that reflect efforts to secure Cooperstown’s future, the village mayor said Tuesday during a business-oriented event in Oneonta.

Cooperstown continues taking steps toward economic vitality but also must be at the table of ongoing talks about economic development, village mayor Jeff Katz said to about 65 guests at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce.

Katz was among elected leaders and business representatives who addressed the need for economic development that can provide jobs, welcome businesses and sustain the quality of life within the region. Jobs, tax cuts, mandate relief and collaboration were key words in a wide-ranging discussion at the event Tuesday morning at the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center.

Other speakers were Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller, state Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie; state Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson; state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford; and U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook.

Guests also included bankers and education and health care officials.

“We all have a common goal,” Joseph Sutaris, senior vice president at Community Bank, the event sponsor, said in welcoming remarks. “That goal is quality of life. Economic development is entwined with quality of life.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is promoting entrepreneurship as well as tax relief for businesses, among other measures to further the economy and attract investments to the state.

Local organizations also have been advocating for economic progress. In November, Seward was host to an economic summit for Otsego County last year that identified strengths, including agricultural and water resources, and needs, such as shovel-ready sites for relocating firms.

However, Sutaris said, economic development calls not only for supporting start-up ventures but also existing companies.

Seward said government relief also must be applied to benefit businesses that have stayed in New York.

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