City eyes adopting budget in Dec.

JOHNSTOWN – The Common Council has decided to consider adoption of the city’s tentative $11.7 million 2014 budget at its Dec. 2 meeting.

No one spoke at the council’s public hearing on next year’s city budget conducted Monday night at City Hall.

City Clerk Cathy VanAlstyne said Tuesday the council has indicated it will consider adopting the spending plan on Dec. 2.

Mayor Sarah Slingerland in October released the tentative 2014 budget, which includes a 2.8 percent tax-rate increase. Cost increases in the budget include pensions, up $27,000; health insurance, up $88,000; and workers’ compensation insurance, up $112,000. Another cost increase comes from the debt service for the new bridge on North Perry Street, which was rebuilt. According to the budget summary, this increased the budget by nearly $250,000.

Other costs, mostly for payroll, are up $182,400, according to a budget summary.

The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property value would go from $17.49 in 2013 to $17.98 for 2014, an increase of 2.8 percent. This would stay under the city’s property-tax cap, set by the state.

In other council business Monday night:

Slingerland indicated the council received a request from somebody who wants to buy city-owned land, but she didn’t indicate where. She said city officials will review the proposal soon.

Third Ward Councilwoman Helen Martin thanked City Engineer Chandra Cotter and Johnstown Public Library Director Erica Wing and their committee for organizing the city’s recent Harvest Fair downtown. The event included a chili-tasting contest and visit by TV’s “Bakery Boss” show host Buddy Valastro.

“It was really a wonderful day,” Martin said.

Slingerland added, “I heard a lot of good, positive feedback.”

Cotter said next year’s Harvest Fair has tentatively been set for Oct. 25.

Martin said the city’s Tourism/Special Events Committee is working on the upcoming Colonial Stroll in December. She said no date has been set.

The mayor noted the Veterans Day program will be held at 11 a.m. Monday and the holiday parade will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 15.

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