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Committee cuts projects

July 19, 2010
By MICHAEL ANICH, The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The Fulton County Board of Supervisors' Capital Projects Committee on Thursday reviewed a proposed $7.8 million capital plan for next year, cutting projects such as a fire training facility renovation and an airport weather station.

County Budget Director Alice Kuntzsch presented the list of proposed county capital projects for next year at the committee's initial summer meeting at the County Office Building. The plan would total $7.8 million, with $1.7 million of it funded by property taxes.

"I think it's really going to be a hard year," Kuntzsch said. "I think we really need to scrutinize these programs. We have to look at needs versus wants."

To that end, the committee already started chopping some proposals, including a proposed $130,575 capital project from county Civil Defense-Fire Coordinator Allan Polmateer to renovate the existing fire training facility on Sun Valley Road.

"I don't think it's money we can spend this year," 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery said.

The 2011 capital list also included a $120,000 project for an Automated Weather Observing System to be placed at the County Airport on Route 67. Most of the cost would be funded through Federal Aviation Administration funds if supervisors were to pursue it, and the county taxpayer share would only be $6,000.

County Planning Director James Mraz said this was budgeted years ago and rejected. He said the only reason he was bringing it up now was because an FAA-certified technician already servicing the airport's beacon is willing to maintain the AWOS for free.

Mraz said information dispensed through the AWOS is "important" to pilots using the airport.

But the committee voted to remove the weather observing system from the capital projects list.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said the county has to closely monitor its spending in light of state "budget problems, which directly become our problems." He said the situation for the county could be "worse" than in the mid-1990s when the county drastically limited capital projects.

"It's not so much about providing a service right now," Stead said. "It's about maintaining what we have."



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