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Officials eye flowing state funding to sewage work

December 10, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - Local sewage treatment plant officials made a presentation last week to the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council about state funding they are seeking for a $4.5 million project to upgrade the plant.

Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility consultant George Bevington said Dec. 3 he and plant Wastewater Engineer Tyler Masick gave a presentation Nov. 28 to the council in Utica. The council invited them to speak on a day when Gov. Andrew Cuomo attended the council session, although the governor wasn't in attendance for the sewer presentation.

Bevington said the local sewage treatment plant sent a funding application to the state for an estimated $4.5 million project involving expansion of the sewer plant to help deal with more industrial discharges expected from yogurt manufacturer Fage USA. He said the application seeks a 50 percent share of an estimated $4.5 million project, or about $2.25 million in state funding.

The other half of the costs of the sewer plant upgrade would be from local money, Bevington said.

"It's hard to get 100 percent grants from the state," he said.

Fage is currently undergoing a $120 million expansion, which is expected to create 150 jobs at its Johnstown Industrial Park facility.

Michael Reese, president and chief executive officer of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, and a council member, the sewer officials' presentation to his board last week. He said Bevington articulated the need for his plant's upgrade.

"He spoke about the need to continue to make improvements to our pre-treatment plant," Reese said. "Presentations were made to the assessment team."

The council arranged presentations to the state's Strategic Implementation Assessment Team on its progress, achievements, and endorsed priority projects for a second round of the regional council competition.

There are 10 regional councils in New York state, including the six-county Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council that includes Fulton and Montgomery counties. The regional council eventually will dole out state funding for projects.

The council in September identified 70 priority projects in the region, representing a total investment of $216 million, with more than 1,100 potential new jobs and more than 3,000 retained jobs.

According to the Empire State Development Corp., to build on the success of the first round, a second round of up to $762 million in state resources was launched in 2012. The state has been touring across the state to learn more about priority projects.

Austin Shafran, Empire State Development's vice president of public affairs, recently said the second round of grant funding announcements by the state are expected soon.

"We fully expect to resume the [regional] tours and project review process and to have awards announced by the end of the year," Shafran said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at



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