Fulton County eyes over $10M in projects

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County government is considering adopting a proposed $10.2 million capital plan for 2015.

“That price is a little bit inflated,” county Budget Director Alice Kuntzsch said Thursday of the 2015 proposal.

She said the main items adding to the proposed capital plan for next year include projects at Fulton-Montgomery Community College and projects related to Fulton County’s “Jump Start: Fulton County” economic development/jobs initiative.

“There is a number of items for Jump Start,” Kuntzsch said.

But she said many of the big ticket items aren’t funded by the county property tax levy.

Of the $10.2 million figure, county taxpayers would pay about $3 million for 2015 capital projects.

The capital plan is not final until it is adopted later in the year as part of the county’s 2015 budget process. The Board of Supervisors’ Capital Projects Committee unveiled the proposed 2015 plan at its July 8 meeting. The committee meets again at 1 p.m. Aug. 28 at the County Office Building.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Rick Argotsinger noted Friday that FMCC has $5.2 million worth of projects reflected in the plan, or about 50 percent of the overall proposal. The plan shows only $250,000 of Fulton County taxpayer funding would actually go into the college projects, which are mostly funded through other sources such as state aid. Montgomery County is also contributing $250,000 to FMCC’s 2015 capital projects.

FMCC capital projects for next year include: $1 million for campus safety, $1.88 million for wastewater treatment, and $2.3 million for Student Union improvements.

“As we have done in the past, the county is using tobacco reserve money,” Argotsinger noted.

Fulton County has tucked away funding it receives annually from the 1997 national tobacco settlement for a capital reserve fund that has been used for many capital projects over the years.

The proposed 2015 capital plan includes these “Jump Start: Fulton County” projects: SMART Waters preliminary engineering – $125,000; SMART Waters water line construction – $100,000; Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center phase two work – $1 million; Tryon marketing plan – $50,000; implement regional brand – $40,000; regional business park; shovel-ready sites – $200,000; and 200-acre site, shovel-ready certification – $150,000.

Other projects proposed in the county’s 2015 capital plan include: license plate readers – $54,450; county jail roof project – $250,000; county telephone system upgrade – $300,000; three sheriff’s department patrol cars – $104,245; county master plan update – $250,000; Fulton County Rail Trail – $50,000; paving of County Highways 153, 126, 112, 142 and 106 – $1.6 million; and solid waste excavator – $190,000.

The proposed 2015 capital plan is the first such plan to top $10 million in the past decade.

The capital proposal for next year costs more than $3 million more than this year’s $7 million current plan.

Adopted Fulton County capital plans have totaled these amounts in the past decade: 2014 – $6.99 million; 2013 – $7.22 million; 2012 – $6.79 million; 2011 – $6.73 million; 2010 – $4.3 million; 2009 – $3.91 million; 2008 – $8.57 million; 2007 – $6.14 million; 2006 – $7.7 million; 2005 – $9.64 million.

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