Keep Johnstown’s Water Board

Johnstown Mayor Michael Julius has criticized and not communicated with the Johnstown Water Board from the moment he became mayor.

The Water Board has tried to meet with him on numerous occasions, but he will not do so. The same is true with the city treasurer. He will not speak to or meet with the Water Board.

We have invited the mayor to attend board meetings, but he will not attend. The Water Board finds this code of silence very frustrating. This needs to stop.

The Water Board wants a strong working relationship with the city, but to do so the city needs to start meeting and talking. The Water Board was elected by the same people that elected the mayor. We both need to be accountable to the people.

The mayor created the charter commission for the sole purpose of developing a proposition to abolish the Water Board.

The mayor wants to have control over the water department and not have it overseen by people elected by city residents.

While the board understands the mayor’s personal goal of control, we believe the current system – having people elected by the voters to oversee and manage the water system – works well and should continue.

The Water Board’s sole job is the water system. We have a deep, working knowledge of the water system and all of its components, an excellent working relationship with the state Department of Health and state Department of Environmental?Conservation, and know all of the fiscal operations of the water department.

Can we do better? Sure we can, and we strive to do so at all times.

In comparison, the mayor says his proposal is to have the water department overseen by the city engineer.

The city engineer currently oversees the city’s sewer lines and manholes, road paving and repairs, snow plowing, storm sewers lines and manholes, garbage collection, street sweeping, repair and maintenance of vehicles, repair and maintenance of city buildings, maintaining city parks, putting up and taking down decorations, watering flowers and other duties and responsibilities.

Now on top of that, the city engineer is expected to oversee and manage the city’s water system and give it the same level of attention the Water Board does? The voters in this city are smart enough to understand that won’t happen.

The current system works just fine. There is no need to fix something that isn’t broke.

ANTHONY “DUKE” CARUSO

Member of the Johnstown Water Board