City official: County mum about plans

GLOVERSVILLE – Elected city officials have yet to be contacted by any Fulton County officials concerning the SMART Waters initiative, according to 1st Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth.

Supervisors in 2013 hired Environmental Design Partnership of Clifton Park to develop a $50,000 report for what the county calls the SMART Waters project. Based on that report, supervisors supported creation of a regional water and wastewater system in the county based on the district’s existing water district. The county is talking to local municipalities about whether they want to sell their excess water and sewer capacity for the county system.

Wentworth said she sent correspondence asking when the council could expect to hear from county officials about the SMART Waters project.

“Their reply was, when you guys decide what you want from us, let us know,” she said.

Wentworth suggested the council talk publicly about what they expect and how they want to see things take place.

“I think it’s unfortunate that we haven’t had anyone here to discuss anything with us,” Wentworth said.

She said no one on the council wants to prevent the SMART Waters initiative, they just want answers.

“We want to see our county grow, we want to see cooperation, but also it’s our responsibility as elected officials of this city to protect what our taxpayers have paid for and developed,” Wentworth said.

The county proposed a capitol project to install a water line on Harrison Street to connect Johnstown to Gloversville using $100,000 of county tax money as part of the SMART Waters initiative. The project would allow Gloversville to supply additional water to Johnstown.

A county official previously said this additional water would be needed to provide water for the proposed regional business park site in the town of Mohawk.

According to Wentworth, Gloversville, the supplier of the water, hasn’t been contacted yet.

Ward 5 Councilman Jay Zarrelli said in the past, water has not been given the importance it deserves.

“It’s really our most valuable asset in the city and I for one take it very seriously,” Zarrelli said.

According to city Attorney Anthony Casale, not one person from the county has given any detail about how these projects would benefit the city.

“It’s very troubling that we have not got one shred of detail as to how this is going to happen,” Casale said.

Art Simonds, 2nd Ward councilman, said the county hasn’t gone to city officials because they don’t know what they are going to propose to Gloversville.

Simonds recommended the council meet and come up with their own solution to the problem.

According to Wentworth, Gloversville has the only accessible water in the county and the only filtration plant that can filter water from the Great Sacandaga Lake.

Mayor Dayton King thinks poor communication is to blame, and said both parties should do a better job of trying to reach out.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead and county Planning Director James Mraz could not be reached for comment.