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Regional Business Plan

Building Fulton County’s economy one business at a time.

Regional Business Plan
for Fulton & Montgomery Counties

In August of 2011, the CEO Roundtable developed the Regional Business Plan for Fulton and Montgomery Counties. At that time, those who participated in the development of the Plan recognized that large ambitious plans, such as this one, often take decades to realize. For that reason, there was no time-table established for the implementation of the Plan. However, annual monitoring of the implementation has produced progress reports and an active dialogue between business, education and government regarding the Region’s progress.

Fulton and Montgomery Counties have strong historical and geographic linkages. Both Counties were originally part of a larger Tryon County. Eventually, both Counties were formed and now share a common boundary. Over the years, the two (2) Counties have worked together on various initiatives most notably being Fulton – Montgomery Community College (FM) and the Hamilton Fulton Montgomery County BOCES (HFM-BOCES). Both Counties are similarly sized, have similar economic bases, and are currently facing similar economic challenges like high unemployment, job losses and high property taxes.

The Fulton and Montgomery Region (Region) has experienced high unemployment rates and the loss of manufacturing jobs. They have also experienced success in revitalizing segments of their local economies. These successes have been achieved through planning, investment in economic development and having a strong inventory of shovel-ready sites.

Because of their planning and investments, Fulton and Montgomery Counties have achieved a great deal of economic development success with its industrial/business parks. The availability of shovel-ready sites has been critical in the two (2) Counties’ efforts to successfully attract new businesses into the two (2) Counties and helping existing businesses already in the region to expand.

The New York State Legislature recent adoption of a State-mandated tax cap has had drastic and far reaching impacts on the Region’s local governments and public schools. The tax cap has forced changes to how local governments and schools function and operate. Fulton and Montgomery Counties must plan for these changes to ensure that the Region continues to move forward. The adoption of a Regional Business Plan will help guide and direct the change that is forthcoming.

In spite of the Region’s past successes, the competition to retain existing and create new jobs is stronger than ever. While individual communities can compete for new businesses, they may be better served by developing a regional approach to business retention and economic development. Some communities have already taken a regional approach to development and have been successful such as Hudson Valley Partnership, the Center for Economic Growth and Tech Valley. In addition, Governor Cuomo is also advocating a regional approach to economic development in New York State through the creation of Regional Economic Development Councils.

The Region has many large and small existing businesses. The Region’s first economic development priority must be to keep those existing businesses and jobs. The growth of most local economies happens through the support of existing companies. Area CEOs have stated that in order for existing businesses in the Region to prosper, the Region must better educate and train a workforce capable of working in a 21st Century Workplace and reduce the high property tax burden.

In order to maximize this Region’s opportunities, our elected officials, in conjunction with the business community, must collaborate and plan regionally. For that reason, a group of local economic development, planning, and education professionals (Team) along with the CEO’s of many businesses in the Region have developed this Regional Business Plan Refresh for consideration by the elected officials in Fulton and Montgomery Counties. This Team consisted of:

  • Dr. Dustin Swanger – President, Fulton-Montgomery Community College
  • Dr. Patrick Michel – District Superintendent, HFM-BOCES
  • James Mraz – Planning Director, Fulton County
  • Ron Peters – President, Fulton County Economic Development Corp.
  • Ken Rose – Director of Economic Development and Planning, Montgomery County
  • Mark Kilmer – President, Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce

Each County adopted the Regional Business Plan and has put resources toward its implementation. Some efforts have been implemented by each county and others have been collaborative efforts of both counties. The Region has progressed.

Now, five years after its initial development, the CEO Roundtable reviewed 2011 Plan to determine if adjustments needed based on the progress that has been made, new facts, issues, developments and information that would require modifications. All good long-term plans must be living documents and adjust to new information and influences.

This refresh of the Regional Business Plan for Fulton and Montgomery Counties represents such adjustments. While the overall direction remains, this refreshed Plan refocuses the efforts of those who are working together to move our Region forward.

The work to date has been impressive. The work ahead is great. The reward is priceless.

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Read the Regional Business Plan Updated for 2017
The work to date has been impressive. The work ahead is great. The reward is priceless.