Lack of water may halt project

JOHNSTOWN – The city’s lack of extra water to serve a proposed regional business park on Route 30A may prevent the park from reaching fruition.

Economic development officials from Fulton and Montgomery counties support creation of the park, which would be built on just under 300 acres of Mohawk farmland in Montgomery County.

The site would be south of and adjacent to the Johnstown Industrial Park off Route 30A. Land would be annexed into the city to receive water and sewer services.

The park would be shared by both counties trying to bring companies into the park.

The city of Johnstown and town of Mohawk have been unable to agree on a revenue-sharing plan for the park, which has been discussed for four years.

But a recent SMART Waters project report, commissioned by the county, pointed out a new barrier to the project.

The report found the city of Johnstown has no excess water capacity. The report said the city’s average daily water use is 1.7 million gallons per day with a peak water usage of 3.1 million gallons per day. More significantly, the report by Environmental Design Partnership of Clifton Park found the city had no excess water capacity beyond providing water for the existing city water uses.

Mayor Michael Julius said Thursday he still wants to talk with Mohawk about a possible regional business park.

“We’ve got to try to get back on track,” he said.

He acknowledged the lack of excess capacity in Johnstown could be a barrier to building the park, first suggested in 2010.

“We really want to try to add to our capacity. Hopefully, we can address that issue later in the year with the [city] Water Department. We don’t have a lot of filtrated water,” Julius said.

Julius, who began his four-year term as mayor in January, said last week he hadn’t yet met with new Mohawk Supervisor Ed Bishop.

Julius did say he talked to Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort about the business park idea.

“They want to have us meet on that,” Julius said.

When talks broke off between the city of Johnstown and the town of Mohawk in early 2011, both municipalities were considering a 55 percent-45 percent split in revenue, with the larger share going to Johnstown. The duration of the agreement appeared to be a major sticking point, however. Johnstown wanted the agreement in place for 40 years, but Mohawk wanted a longer term. At that time, former Johnstown Mayor Sarah Slingerland and former Mohawk Supervisor Greg Rajkowski were negotiating.

Fulton County supervisors in October set aside $150,000 in capital funding for 2014 toward creation of the regional business park for the two counties. About $90,000 of the cost would go toward engineering and design, while $60,000 would be for land acquisition. The project would include funding for a railroad study.

Johnstown Water Board President Nicholas Cannizzo Sr. said today he met last week with some of the Fulton County supervisors and Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz.

Cannizzo said his board is “looking into” ways to increase water capacity in Johnstown, but he believes the city has excess water “right now,” although he wouldn’t say how much.

He said he and county officials discussed the regional business park.

Cannizzo said there are “technical ways” to increase water capacity in the city, but he didn’t want to discuss them at this time.

Johnstown Water Department Senior Plant Operator Michael Hlozansky said today an engineering firm would have to assess new ways to get more water flowing. He said ideas could range from more storage tanks to building another reservoir.

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