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Survey sent to residents of proposed sewer district

November 21, 2008
By MICHAEL ANICH, The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN -The Fulton County Planning Department has sent a second survey to property owners in the proposed county sewer district in the Meco area.

The survey seeks input on a proposed operation and maintenance fee structure, an official said Thursday.

Planning Director James Mraz said his office has again contacted the 65 property owners on the 235 acres in the proposed district.

All property owners in the town of Johnstown on both sides of Route 29A that border that road from Gloversville to Meco Elementary School would lie in the district. The county would use a sewer line installed in 1977. The line now serves the Fulton County Residential Health Care Facility, the school, the new Meco firehouse and Stewart's.

The county was considering charging an operation and maintenance, or O&M, fee to all property owners in the proposed district. After a previous survey found only 29 percent of property owners wanted to be in the district, the Board of Supervisors' Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee decided to pursue another scenario in which the fee would be paid only by those who tap into the sewer line.

Committee Chairman Michael Gendron said Thursday the new sewer district is not final yet.

"Proposed sewer district is still a correct term," Gendron said. "It's a proposed district, and we're still working out the methodology."

The Board of Supervisors last week found the state Environmental Quality Review requirements were met and that "potential environmental impacts will be avoided or minimized to the maximum extent practicable" with the sewer project.

County Administrative Officer Jon R. Stead said objections were received from people who were against being charged an O&M fee even if they didn't hook into the line. He noted the Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee decided it wanted to charge such fees only if property owners hooked into the system.

Johnstown Town Supervisor Roy D. Palmateer told the board last week that people in his town's Meco hamlet don't want the county's new sewer district "rammed down their throat."

Broadalbin Supervisor Lee Hollenbeck, chairman of the board's Finance Committee, said without creation of a formal sewer district, the county can't get operation and maintenance paid for by the local residents.

Mraz said the "state process" for establishing districts is not always easy and fast.

The county took a few years to establish its county water district along Route 67.

Mraz said it's possible to create a sewer district in which 15 to 20 new customers could tap into the system.

In a "perfect world," Mraz said, the county will continue to make steady progress on creation of the new district through 2009.



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