City withdraws support for company

JOHNSTOWN — The city is withdrawing its involvement with a $405,000 grant for Johnstown Renewables LLC – the firm whose $17 million construction project for a plant to manufacture acid whey was halted midway last spring.

The Common Council will consider a resolution Monday to withdraw a Community Development Block Grant for the firm. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

“At this point, it doesn’t look like it’s moving forward until the estate makes a decision,” Mayor Vern Jackson said Friday.

He noted the Johnstown Renewables LLC project at the Johnstown Industrial Park also faces litigation. The Fage USA yogurt plant on Aug. 3 filed a $20 million to $50 million breach of contract lawsuit against Johnstown Renewables, the firm whose unfinished facility it was supposed to purchase acid whey from. An Albany firm – CHA Consulting Inc. – has also filed a $127,700 mechanic’s lien against the firm.

Jackson said the city can now “back off” from the grant, and reapply later if needed.

The city previously received a $405,000 federal Small Cities CDGB to assist the company.

Construction was supposed to have finished by now. Johnstown Renewables is supposed to create reusable ethanol alcohol and animal feed from the Fage USA yogurt plant’s whey at the industrial park. The project was expected to create 30 jobs to start. The construction was halted on a 5.4-acre parcel at the industrial park. Workers had been constructing the 15,000-square-foot plant on the north side of Enterprise Drive.

Last spring, Johnstown Renewables shut down construction at its 224 Enterprise Road site for an unspecified reason. The building is halfway completed.

In other business Monday:

∫ The council will entertain nine other resolutions, including one to schedule a public hearing for a local law to allow the city to exceed the state-imposed tax cap for the city’s 2018 budget. A public hearing will also be set on the tentative budget.

Court cleaning and security agreements are also on the agenda.

Other council resolutions include: authorizing Arcadis for additional site management -at the Karg Bros. site, an agreement with C.T. Male to do test drilling at the former Hi-Way Oil site on North Perry Street, and advertisement for construction services to close tanks at Hi-Way Oil.

∫ A presentation on grants by musician and local civic leader Bill Ackerbauer is on the agenda.

∫ Other business will include: city official and liaison reports, council discussions, and announcement of upcoming events.

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

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