County begins project process

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County government has begun the lengthy process of soliciting potential 2018 county capital projects, which don’t receive final legislative approval until year’s end.

“Believe it or not, it’s time to do capital [projects] again,” county Administrative Officer Jon Stead said Friday.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors in mid-November accepted the county’s current $18 million capital plan for 2017. The plan was part of the $97.3 million county budget for 2017 adopted on Nov. 28.

Stead said the word went out recently that Fulton County government department heads are being required to report on the status of their current capital projects. The county is looking at current projects and sizing up potential projects for 2018.

The county’s overall 2017 capital plan included a $7 million landfill expansion, and several economic development and Fulton-Montgomery Community College projects. The county’s share for the projects was about $10.9 million, with offsetting revenues from sources such as reserves totalling $7.74 million.

Other projects contained in the county’s 2017 capital plan included: $500,000 for County Office Building exterior renovations; $1.3 million for a Smart Waters program waterline for Hales Mills Road Extension; and FMCC projects that include a $900,000 technology upgrade, $2.2 million in campus maintenance projects, and $2.4 million for the proposed Allen House Administrative and Community Center.

Mayfield Supervisor Rick Argotsinger, chairman of the Board of Supervisors’ Finance Committee, said Monday he’s not sure if the county will go as high as $18 million worth of capital projects in 2018. The figure was one of the highest capital figures in recent years.

“It’s too early to tell,” he said. “The departments have been asked to submit their requests.”

Argotsinger said the chairman of the Capital Projects Committee –Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Kinowski — will likely convene that panel’s first meeting in July to review potential 2018 capital projects.

County Budget Director Alice Kuntzsch, who provides input at capital project sessions, couldn’t be reached for comment.

But in the next month or two, the county will also kick off its 2018 budget process. Just as with capital projects, department heads submit their proposed budgets to Kuntzsch and standing committees will go over the tentative spending plans on the committee level this summer.

The $97.3 million county budget for 2017 adopted last fall by supervisors decreased the average county property tax rate by 1.6 percent. The budget carried a $27.2 million tax levy. Revenues were budgeted at $54.1 million, reserves at $8.1 million, and fund balance at $7.9 million.

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

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