State of the county promising despite national economic concerns

PLATTSBURGH As the word recession is the hot topic across the country, the economic forecast on the local level appears to be a bit more promising, according to one local official. In an address of the Plattsburgh Noon Rotary Club April 2, Clinton County Legislature Chairman James R. Langley Jr., R-Area 7, Peru, gave the organization an ultimately positive overview of the state of the county. Though there is economic uncertainty across the nation, Langley said the outlook for Clinton County is good, based on the successes of businesses which have been established in the North Country. The county relies on its healthy cross-section of industries, he said, stating when one isnt doing well, another generally comes around the economy instinctively adjusts. Were pretty blessed in a very weird way in the North Country, said Langley. We dont have the big booms that other areas have, but, by the same token, we dont have the big busts when those occur either. Were rather conservative during the good times and I think it kind of balances out, he added. Plattsburgh International Airport has been one of the major endeavors supported by the county and community in general, Langley said. The chairman stated the county is impressed with the number of enplanements it has seen since flights began taking off last June. As of the end of March, more than 9,000 passengers have utilized the airport a number that exceeded the countys expectations. The airport, right now, is really at where our expectations were for 2009, said Langley. Thats a very good thing and its a wonderful asset for our area. If the momentum continues, the airport could one day see an increase in the financial assistance it receives from the federal Airport Improvement Program, said Langley. Airports which have more than 10,000 enplanements for two consecutive years are eligible to receive $1 million in aid, which could assist with many facility improvements, he said. The sale of the former Clinton County Airport property would also be beneficial to the county, said Langley. The legislature is hoping to put the State Route 3 property out to bid sometime between August and October, the chairman added, with proceeds of the sale expected to off-set the roughly original $4 million cost of the property. Shared services have also been beneficial for the local economy and are agreements which happen more often than people think, said Langley. In fact, the majority of county roads are plowed during the winter by highway departments from townships within the county. The county, in turn, also assists municipalities by sharing with them a portion of its sales tax revenue. Through the money it generates, the county is able to keep county roads and buildings well-maintained, provide for its employees, and annually increase funding for Clinton Community College, the chairman said. Another statistic Langley gave was that of the number of people receiving public assistance within the county. Of the approximately 82,000 people in Clinton County, 1,400 receive public assistance roughly 700-800 of which are children. Everything in Clinton County isnt always rosy. I understand that, said Langley. All you have to do is watch the nightly news or read the paper. The country has some real serious problems that we have at pretty much arms length. However, the acquisition of the Wyeth Pharmaceuticals manufacturing facility in Rouses Point earlier this year by Akrimax Pharmaceuticals, which saved more than 800 jobs, and the promise of Nova Bus creating an assembly plant in Plattsburgh that would create 300 more jobs, are signs the economy is on an upswing, said Langley. I think we really have something special here, he said.

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