Data flows in for ‘Waters’ project: official

JOHNSTOWN – The official leading Fulton County’s “SMART Waters” project said information is still being gathered to design a model for the system, which may end up consolidating all water and sewer services in the county.

County Planning Director James Mraz told the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee last week that work toward designing a potential system is being done.

“Things are progressing along fairly well with the information gathering piece,” Mraz said.

There are six municipal water systems in the county. They are in the cities of Gloversville and Johnstown, the villages of Broadalbin, Mayfield and Northville, and at Sacandaga Park in Northampton. There are five municipal wastewater operations. They are in the two cities, the villages of Broadalbin and Mayfield, and Sacandaga Park.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on July 8 hired Environmental Design Partnership of Clifton Park, Saratoga County, for $50,000 to design a system to possibly consolidate all water and sewer services within the county.

Glove Cities officials recently agreed not provide to information to Environmental Design Partnership unless it is approved by the cities’ mayors and common councils. That decision followed an independent decision by the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility to provide information. The cities are also making the county and its consultant file state Freedom Of Information Law requests for information.

Mraz told the committee the village of Broadalbin may provide some or all of the information needed. Information from Mayfield could be available early this month, he said.

He said Northville has provided information and the Sacandaga Park information may be forthcoming.

Mraz said Environmental Design Partnership filed FOIL requests with the two cities and the village of Broadalbin on Aug. 15. He said the county is also collecting information on five counties that operate both water and sewer authorities.

Many county officials believe a countywide system – dubbed the “SMART Waters” project – will spur the local economy, creating more business and lowering property taxes. But county officials caution no one has committed to such a system yet.

Officials from the Glove Cities have been skeptical this year about a countywide water and sewer system. Some officials say the individual systems work fine now and they may lose control of their water and sewer systems under the county plan. They also fear the state may get involved in setting future water and sewer rates. Another concern was that city taxpayers may have to pay for a city water system and county water system.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at