Julius’ claims about Water Board wrong
Johnstown Mayor Michael Julius has flooded the airways recently with rhetoric about the city’s Water Board and water system.
The Water Board needs to let voters know the truth as they prepare to cast their votes Nov. 3 on the mayor’s proposition to abolish the independent Water Board.
Julius claims the city is losing $500,000 annually in revenue from water leaking out of the water system.
Yes, the city loses water from its system; that happens in every water system in the U.S.
But Julius is misleading the public when he says the Water Board is losing revenue from this lost water.
The Water Board is not losing any revenue. The Water Board generates revenue when customers use water; the water leaking out of the water system is water that would not be used by any customer. If we lost no water, we would still be selling the same amount of water to customers, and would not see an increase in revenues.
Julius has said the water system is old and failing, so the city should abolish the Water Board.
Yes, the city’s water system is old, but it is not failing. Yes, do we have water main breaks. When we do, the Water Department promptly repairs the broken pipe. Last year, there were a higher number of water main breaks than usual because of the cold weather that drove frost down to depths seldom seen in this region. Every municipal water system in the region experienced the same problem.
Julius has claimed if he took control of the Water Department revenues, they would be kept separate.
We are not so sure that would happen. It didn’t happen before voters decided to create the Water Board; that was the main reason voters created this system.
With the Water Board, voters know all revenues from the sale of water will be reinvested into the operation and maintenance of the water system.
No such guarantees exist if the mayor takes control.
One needs to look at the city’s other key infrastructure system to get a glimpse at how the city handles fiscal affairs. Johnstown recently withheld funds from the Joint Sewer Board for months, which created fiscal problems for the Joint Sewer Board.
The reason cited for the lack of payment was the city was too busy and didn’t have time to write one check.
If the city is too busy to write one check, it will struggle to manage the Water Department.