Fulton County considers $11 million in projects

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County supervisors are considering $11 million worth of proposed capital projects for 2014 – the most in at least five years.

“It’s the highest since the 2008 recession,” county Budget Director Alice Kuntzsch said Wednesday.

The Board of Supervisors’ Capital Projects Committee, which usually meets about three times per year, conducted its first meeting this summer at the County Office Building as supervisors begin to develop a 2014 county budget.

“There are lots of things on our list,” board Chairman William Waldron said. “Some of them are big projects, but at the same time I think they’re necessary. We have to take a serious look and go from there.”

Kuntzsch said the county capital plan for 2014 totals $11.04 million. She said the county has about $4.3 million in capital reserves.

Among the larger projects planned is a $3.1 million project to turn the former Tryon Detention Facility into a technology park and incubator center in Perth. About $2 million of that is state money for a county road that will improve access to the new park.

The county is working with the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency, which is waiting on the title for the property from the state.

“I think we need some more answers before we spend any more county taxpayer dollars,” said Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery.

Callery said the county needs to sit down with Glove Cities officials to discuss the county’s “commitment” to the Tryon project.

Another large money project is a $1.8 million countywide energy conservation project the county is looking into for next year. County Planning Director James Mraz said the $1.8 million figure is just a “guess.” He said the project is expected to save the county about $113,000 annually over a 10 to 15-year payback period.

The county’s proposal for a new “SMART” Waters project that may eventually consolidate all water and sewer services within the county is part of the capital plan, funded at $60,000. The Board of Supervisors recently executed a $50,000 agreement with Environmental Design Partnership of Clifton Park to prepare a model for the system.

“We put this in simply as a placeholder,” Mraz said of the $60,000 earmark.

The proposed capital plan includes a $250,000 project to renovate both the Fort Johnstown Annex and the historic County Courthouse. Mraz said the project involves exterior work on both.

The county Information Services Department has a total of $596,911 set aside for high-tech improvement for the county.

“There’s a lot of money in this information services upgrade for 2014, so we really have to take a look at it,” said county Administrative Officer Jon Stead.

The four projects are: software upgrade – $500,000; personal computer upgrade plan – $57,177; server upgrade plan – $26,734; and wireless upgrade – $13,000. Kuntzsch said the wireless upgrades are connections between buildings.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department is proposing a capital expenditure of $90,450 for three new patrol cars, as well as $251,000 for a video security system upgrade for the county jail.

Other capital projects proposed for next year include a $41,963 expenditure for county Board of Elections software.

“They put in for this a few years back,” Kuntzsch said. “At that time, I believe it was taken out.”

Michael Anich can be reached by email at manich@leaderherald.com.