Glove Cities officials say OK to county study

JOHNSTOWN – Glove Cities officials on Tuesday said they had no problem with Fulton County studying whether to combine various municipal water and sewer services into one county operation.

The officials attended a meeting of the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee at the County Office Building.

Attending were Gloversville Mayor Dayton King, Gloversville Finance Commissioner Bruce Van Genderen, Gloversville Water Department Superintendent Christopher Satterlee and Johnstown Water Board President Nicholas Cannizzo Sr.

“I look forward to further discussions,” King told the committee.

Following a presentation by county Planning Director James Mraz, the committee voted to allow the county to solicit proposals from engineering and-or legal firms to evaluate the feasibility of consolidating all water and sewer services in the county into a county-run operation.

The board’s Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee on Monday also approved sending out the in-house-written requests for proposals, or RFPs. The Finance Committee on Thursday will review the proposed resolution, which comes to the full board May 13.

County officials feel such a move could be more efficient and boost economic development projects in the county.

“It’s important that new development is going to have to occur here in this county,” Mraz said.

King told supervisors the county doing the study is “fine,” but the burden for any future projects must be felt by all.

“I think we also have to share expenses,” the Gloversville mayor said.

King asked the county “at what cost” this consolidation of water and sewer would take place, adding he doesn’t want it to “disable” the cities.

He said the county has talked about this new proposed “SMART” county system serving the “underserved” population in the county, but Gloversville must not be crippled by such a move.

“I wonder if we can also study if we can annex 300 acres along Hale Mills Road in the town of Johnstown?” King asked.

That area is where the new Gloversville Walmart Supercenter is slated to open Aug. 15.

“I think you’re getting ahead of us,” county Administrative Officer Jon Stead said. “This is the starting point.”

Stead said the county can’t “take over” existing water and sewer systems. He said the cities must “get something in monetary benefit in the long run” for this proposal to come to fruition.

“You’ve got to look at the future, Dayton,” Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr. told King.

Lauria said the Walmart project would be “nowhere” without cooperation from multiple municipalities.

King also said he would have liked to have known about the county’s proposal before being contacted by the media this week.

After the meeting, Cannizzo stated: “It’s a good idea to do the study.”

Satterlee, whose water department has an 8 million gallon-per-day water capacity, concurred with Cannizzo. But Satterlee added it would be “premature” to comment further.