Residents wary of sewer district cost

JOHNSTOWN – Some of the residents of a proposed sewer district in town are concerned about how much the plan to construct it could cost them: up to $1,100 annually for several years.

People voiced their concerns about the proposed district at an informational meeting Monday at Town Hall.

Raymond Perna of Eastland Avenue said he didn’t find the prospect of paying $500 a year – the lowest estimated cost for the district – fair without needing the sewer system.

Joe Bianchi of MJ Engineering, the engineer handling the proposal, said the district in town would go down East Fulton Street to Route 30A, and would include part of Myrtle Avenue.

A septic tank would be built behind the property of the former Loblaws store on East Fulton Street, along with pipelines spread throughout the district.

Bianchi said the proposed district, according to county records, contains six single-family homes, one two-family home, 16,700 square feet of the former supermarket, a couple of gas stations and 13,000 square feet of commercial or multi-use space. Three vacant buildings and several parcels of undeveloped land also are in the district.

Bianchi said development, if it used all the available space, could reach upwards of 25 single-family homes and several pieces of commercial space.

According to Supervisor Nancy MacVean, the residents of the proposed sewer district would pay for the construction of the district annually for several years. The exact length of time will depend on what grants and bonds are used, she said.

Once the bond has been covered, MacVean said, residents would only pay for the cost of maintenance and sewage.

In total, the project would cost more than $800,000.

Bianchi said the cost for sewer district residents to build the system could be as expensive as $1,100 per year for several years.

The lowest estimated cost is about $500 annually, he said, which could happen if the town gets grants and other funding for the sewer district.

MacVean said the district was suggested as a way to provide sewer services for the East Fulton Street Stewart’s Shop, which has septic problems.

At the meeting, Joseph Lander, who owns Express Taxi, said his garage would be affected by the proposed district.

Lander said he felt the project would be a waste.

“Overall, when you look at everyone that would be affected, I don’t think it would be something they would want,” Lander said.

John Kane, a resident of Johnstown, was opposed to the idea of the sewer district, claiming it would bring industrialization to the area.

“I’d like to know what some of the ulterior motives are around here,” Kane said.

Walter Lane, a town councilman, spoke to the crowd, saying the plan for the sewer district could be altered or changed.

“We are not going to make you pay a lot of money to let you flush your toilet seven times, I promise you that,” Lane said. “We are trying to find out what is going on.”

Jack Wilson, Pleasant Square Volunteer Fire Department president, said he was glad the town was holding the informational meeting.

“Personally, I think the district there would be too expensive, unless you get a grant from somebody,” Wilson said.