Glove Cities seek sewer grant

JOHNSTOWN – A city consultant briefed the Common Council on Monday about a $700,000 federal grant being sought to upgrade the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Nicholas Zabawsky, owner of Orion Management Co. of Amsterdam, told the Johnstown council the Gloversville Common Council recently approved seeking the grant. He said Gloversville has agreed to allow Johnstown to serve as lead agency for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Public Facilities Infrastructure Grant.

“That is in place,” Zabawsky said of that city’s approval.

The upgrade is for the sewer plant’s treatment process to deal with more waste products from the local dairy industries. Those industries include the Johnstown Industrial Park’s Fage USA yogurt plant and Euphrates cheese factory.

No one spoke on a public hearing the council conducted Monday at City Hall on the grant application. The cities are seeking the HUD grant by forwarding an application to the state Office of Community Renewal seeking funding through the Community Development Block Grant program.

Zabawsky noted the city originally submitted three grant applications through the state. One was for downtown improvements, one to improve the city water treatment plant, and the third being the sewage treatment plant grant.

“Two of those projects [sewer and water] made the regional priority list,” the consultant said.

But Zabawsky recommended the city not “waste the taxpayers’ money” by submitting for the water plant improvement funding. He said HUD grant requirements generally call for at least 51 percent of the people in the affected area to be low-income residents, and that doesn’t fit with Johnstown. He said the sewer funding application is a better fit.

Zabawsky said the sewer project will cost roughly $5 million. He said $700,000 will be sought with this grant, with the rest of the funding coming through city bonding and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority.