County unveils $12.5M capital plan

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County government on Wednesday unveiled a proposed $12.5 million county capital plan for 2018, including a $914,571 project to improve vital emergency 911 communications.

The Board of Supervisors’ Capital Projects Committee met for the first time this year at the County Office Building.

County Budget Director Alice Kuntzsch asked committee members to “familiarize yourself with the projects that are out there.”

The panel reviewed $12.5 million worth of proposed capital projects. Proposed is use of $4.77 million from the property tax levy. Other forms of funding would include: $650,000 in debt service; $1.1 million in federal funding; $3.28 million in state funding; and $1.3 million in other funding.

Supervisors last year approved an $18.6 million capital plan for 2017. Kuntzsch said that figure was somewhat inflated due to a $7 million ongoing expansion of the county landfill.

The 2018 capital plan includes a $914,571 project submitted by county Civil Defense-Fire Coordinator Steve Santa Maria for a VHF Analog Simulcast System.

County Planning Director James Mraz said that when a 911 call comes into the sheriff’s department, the communications specialist has to select one of four towers to dispatch an emergency vehicle.

“There’s times where for the folks they’re trying to get, it’s not the correct tower,” Mraz said.

He said analog system, with “all new communications equipment,” will resolve that problem.

Santa Maria wasn’t present, but Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan proposed he come into the committee’s next meeting, tentatively set for Aug. 31.

“We definitely need to follow up with Steve,” Fagan said. “That’s a pretty big nut.”

A $1.3 million state Interoperable Communications Grant for the area, administered by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, was awarded in March, but Santa Maria is still trying to access funding. Fulton County was awarded $407,000.

Other highlights in Fulton County’s proposed 2018 capital plan are:

∫ New Neighborhood Plan surveillance and intelligence gathering tools through the District Attorney’s Office — $75,000.

∫ Tax collection software for the Treasurer’s Office — $97,000.

∫ Superintendent of Highways and Facilities Mark Yost proposed a $650,000 project involving central air conditioning for the County Office Building, and LED lighting and drive motors for the county jail.

“That’s a huge project,” Kuntzsch said, noting the funding sources haven’t been finalized.

“Fulton-Montgomery Community College has a couple of projects,” Kuntzsch said.

The $3 million worth of projects at the college including two distinct maintenance projects involving: campus labs, classroom renovations, bathrooms, and locker rooms construction.

“The sheriff has come in for two patrol cars,” Kuntzsch said.

The cost of the vehicles is $121,264. Sheriff Richard Giardino also requested fingerprint/photo system, security system and 911 system projects.

∫ Mraz noted $5,200 is in the plan as a local share for a $104,000 project to design improvements to the county airport runway. He said the county will “basically redo the runway” in 2019. He said the Federal Aviation Administration requires such runway work every 15 years.

“It’s time for that,” Mraz said

∫ Five economic development projects totalling $2.5 million are proposed in the plan. Mraz said these capital funds address two main things — the county’s “stagnant and aging population” and “declining workforce.” They include: $600,000 Hales Mills Road development area sewer project; $1.3 million sewer collection and treatment system in Vail Mills; and $440,000 Tryon Technology Park infrastructure project.

Mraz said the county is in the process of finalizing applications to the state for all three.

∫ A total of $1.6 million worth of paving is planned for seven county highways in 2018.

∫ The county Department of Solid Waste is proposing $1.4 million worth of projects, which include a bulldozer and roll-off truck, which cost $375,000 apiece.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at