‘SMART Waters’ report due in April

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County government officials said today a “SMART Waters” project final report that will attempt to determine if it’s feasible to consolidate all water and sewer services in the county won’t be available until April.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Rick Argotsinger said in January the report might be done by February, but elements of the work are not complete yet.

“It’s a substantial report,” county Planning Director James Mraz said today.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on July 8 hired Environmental Design Partnership for $50,000 to design a system to possibly consolidate all water and sewer services within the county. The county hasn’t decided to pursue that option yet, and the county’s work is to determine feasibility of consolidation.

“They’re continuing to work on the report,” Mraz said. “We’re having regular meetings. Right now its targeted completion date is early April.”

Mraz said county officials are still discussing how the report will be released publicly. He said it may be released through the committee system or go to the full board first.

Many county officials believe a countywide system, dubbed the “SMART?Waters” project, will spur the local economy, creating more business and lowering property taxes.

Some officials from the Glove Cities last year were skeptical 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.

Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan, chairman of the board’s Finance Committee, said he hasn’t seen any of the draft report yet.

“This is a study that’s going to lay out the different options,” Fagan said.

He said that if the report determines it is feasible for Fulton County to consolidate all water and sewer services, the county will then put together a proposal for the cities, towns and villages.

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.