Vote ‘yes’ on Proposition 1

I write to ask the city of Johnstown’s voters to vote “yes” for Proposition 1 on Nov. 3.

A “yes” vote eliminates duplication, which costs time and, therefore, money. Both the Water Department and treasurer maintain accounting records, collect revenue, process purchases, pay claims and maintain bank accounts. Both the Water Department and city clerk keep meeting minutes, issue permits and maintain records. Both the Water Department and city engineer manage and maintain city property.

Eliminating duplication is not a new idea. Consolidating the Water Department and treasurer’s office was addressed in the New York State Comptroller’s, May 19, 1999, $MART Review.

A “yes” vote improves controls over finances. The treasurer is legally responsible for all of the city’s financial reporting to the state Comptroller, Security and Exchange Commission and bond rating firms such as Standard & Poor’s. Because the Water Department maintains accounting records, the treasurer does not have enough control over the records needed to meet the financial reporting responsibilities.

A “Yes” vote downsizes our government. Why does the city need five additional elected officials to oversee eight employees?

The proposition changes an elected board into an advisory board. An advisory board, in conjunction with oversight by the Department of Health, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Comptroller will provide more than adequate safeguards over the water system. In today’s regulatory environment, you cannot simply spend the money foolishly and not take care of the water system.

In summary, I ask you to make an informed decision. Do not simply listen to gossip, rumors and half-truths, which unfortunately in today’s society are promoted through social media.

Please do your homework by reading the report of the Johnstown Charter Review Commission available on our website.

Always feel free to ask your officials questions.

MICHAEL C. GIFFORD

City treasurer, Johnstown