LETTER from AL COLONE
To the Editor:
What’s to blame for the financial stress currently being experienced by the Schenevus Central School system?
Mismanagement? Nah. A ban on hydro-fracking? I doubt it.
I think it’s regional population loss which has negatively impacted much of Upstate. If there’s anyone or anything to blame, I’d suggest putting it on the multi-generational commercial decline within the City of Oneonta and the
surrounding urban center!
Small and medium-sized city/urban centers have long been seen as drivers of commerce and culture, both directly for their internal constituents, as well as for the people in the rural settings around them.
The ongoing economic softness within the city and town of Oneonta is having a ripple effect in the outlying areas; and I suspect there will likely be more Schenevus-like moments coming soon!
I’m a long-time believer that “as goes Oneonta, so goes the entire area!” So, if nearby communities and school systems around the Oneonta Urban Center are to gain some economic strength, growing the overall economy of the Greater Oneonta urban center is most compelling.
For that to happen, the city and town need to consolidate into one new streamlined higher-powered municipality, one able to substantially expand its public resources, reduce property taxes, raise development confidence among private developers, become a more forceful engine towards hosting far more good paying jobs, growing the municipal tax base and many more positives. There really are no negatives.
And I’m not alone in this belief; please see below the survey results of area leaders conducted sometime back by the Greater Oneonta Economic Development Council In around 2014, GO-EDC put out an area leaders’ survey surrounding its “300 in 3 Challenge”: Can 300 new, good-paying jobs be created over the next three years, through 2018.
The distribution list featured 353 area leaders, garnering 57 respondents who completed the survey. It’s very important to note that the survey indicates that respondents have firm positions about city/town enterprise and job creation.
A. 69 percent of the respondents reside in the town or city of Oneonta; 33 percent of the respondents reside in the Town of Oneonta; 36 percent of the respondents reside in the City of Oneonta and 31 percent reside in other towns and villages nearby.
B. 95 percent of the respondents agreed that the economic prosperity and sustainability of the municipalities within a 30-mile radius of Oneonta depends on the prosperity and sustainability of Oneonta. 5 percent disagreed.
C. 69 percent of the respondents agreed that the town and city of Oneonta would become more prosperous if they merged. 31 percent disagreed.
While we’re talking consolidation, perhaps merging should also be seriously pursued by other villages and towns throughout the Oneonta area and maybe it’s time to look at forming one or two county school districts?
City of Oneonta