Next phase of SMART Waters on tap

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County government is entering the second part of its SMART Waters project to identify specific areas of the southeast portion of the county needing water and sewer services.

The Board of Supervisors last summer hired Environmental Design Partnership of Clifton Park to develop a broad-based, $50,000 report for what the county calls the SMART Waters project. County officials feel more expansion of water and sewer services outside of the Glove Cities will benefit development and lower taxes in the county.

Based on that report, supervisors last month supported creation of a regional water and wastewater system in the county. The county will now talk to local municipalities about whether they want to sell their excess water and sewer capacity for the county system.

Six municipal water systems are in the county. They are in Gloversville and Johnstown, the villages of Broadalbin, Mayfield and Northville, and in the Sacandaga Park section of Northampton. There are five wastewater operations – for Gloversville, Johnstown, the villages of Broadalbin and Mayfield and in Sacandaga Park.

The board’s Economic Development and Environment Committee last week authorized board Chairman Rick Argotsinger to execute another $50,000 agreement with Environmental Design Partnership to prepare the next plan. This is being called the “SMART Growth Infrastructure Plan.” The full board will consider final approval Monday.

“I think after looking at the first SMART Waters findings report, it is no secret the population center is the southeastern portion of the county,” county Administrative Officer Jon Stead said Monday. “This is the next logical step to plot where the infrastructure is and plan for the future.”

One of the major recommendations in the first report was the county should “evaluate the potential for developing groundwater wells outside the Tryon facility in southeastern Fulton County.” The county is turning the Tryon property in Perth – a former state youth detention campus – into a business park.

County Planning Director James Mraz told the committee last week that Environmental Design Partnership’s new “growth” report will identify areas in southeast Fulton County where water and wastewater services are desired and needed. The plan will also identify “conceptual plans” to provide those services there based upon where the county is able to obtain water and sewer capacities. The plan will also estimate costs.

“We have to start to dovetail the need for the infrastructure,” Stead said.

He said the second report will have more specifics and more engineering, as the county considers excess water and sewer capacity available.

Stead said he will be meeting with Argotsinger to schedule meetings with municipalities regarding SMART Waters.

“We’re just gearing that up,” Stead said.

He said he will speak at a meeting of the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board at 7 p.m. June 11 at the sewer plant.

Sewer board officials decided last month that a meeting with county officials would be beneficial, although stipulated no action or endorsements will be required at this time.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.