Chamber endorses water work

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce endorses Fulton County’s SMART Waters project.

The endorsement was made public at a recent county Board of Supervisors meeting at the County Office Building.

The chamber contacted the county with a resolution it’s board passed endorsing the county’s new initiative.

“We’re been on a drive for regionalization for some time now,” chamber President Mark Kilmer said today.

County 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. The county is talking to local municipalities about whether they want to sell their excess water and sewer capacity for the county system.

In its resolution, the chamber board wrote that it is the “leading voice of business” in the area and dedicated to furthering those interests and improving the “general economy and quality of life in the community.”

“The Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce recognizes that the expansion of water and wastewater services to underserved communities in the Fulton Montgomery region is an important tool in the marketing of the region for purposes of economic development,” the chamber endorsement said.

Chamber officials stated they were supporting the SMART Waters initiative and urged “all regional city and town officials to work together by way of free and open discussion to make the proposed SMART Waters initiative a reality.”

Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael F. Gendron, chairman of the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development-Environment Committee, said today the endorsement letter means much to the county.

“I remember the letter,” Gendron said. “I think the elements were well-written and thought out. Anytime you’re trying to put forth something to improve the county, endorsements by credible agencies are important.”

County officials have been meeting with municipalities to discuss SMART Waters. Supervisors also recently authorized the county to pay a $9,600 portion of the city of Johnstown Water Board’s contract with an engineering firm that’s evaluating the city’s water system. That evaluation is needed before a proposal to build a regional business park on nearly 300 acres of land on Route 30A, south of Johnstown, can become reality.

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