Mayor: $300K sewer bill will be paid

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown Mayor Vern Jackson said Wednesday that an outstanding $300,000 sewer payment owed by the city should be resolved in early 2018.

“It will be paid,” Jackson said.

Both the cities of Gloversville and Johnstown make periodic payments to the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility, which they own and run. The sewage treatment plant on Union Avenue handles residential and commercial sewage for the area.

Jackson said that paying the debt — brought up over a month ago by Gloversville Mayor Dayton King — should be taken care of by Johnstown City Treasurer Michael Gifford.

“It’s on [Gifford’s] agenda for the first of the year, I understand,” Jackson said.

Otherwise, the mayor said there’s more to the sewer non-payment issue he chooses not to discuss publicly.

Gifford couldn’t be reached this week.

King spoke as a public speaker at the Johnstown Common Council’s Nov. 27 meeting at Johnstown City Hall. He questioned the Johnstown council about when the $300,000 sewer payment owed by Johnstown will be paid. Johnstown city officials didn’t directly respond, as is usually the custom when public speakers bring up an issue.

King’s comment Nov. 27 was during a public hearing on, what was at the time, the city of Johnstown’s 2018 tentative budget. The Gloversville mayor held up a copy of Johnstown’s budget, saying he noticed that $300,000 owed by Johnstown wasn’t included. He said it is money owed for a digester and upgrade project at the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Accompanied Nov. 27 by Gloversville City Attorney Anthony Casale, King said he simply wanted to inquire about the status of the payment.

Sewer plant Fiscal Manager Donna Renda said in October that Johnstown was behind on the capital portion of its debts to the sewer plant. The capital portion is comprised of all the debts including bonds for projects. There are bond repayments that haven’t been repaid.

Jackson has maintained privately that the city’s sewer debt is being handled internally by Gifford.

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

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