JOHNSTOWN - Two groups promoting economic development in Fulton County support possible consolidation of municipal water and sewer services in the county.
The groups - the Fulton and Montgomery Region CEO Roundtable and the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth - earlier this month contacted the county to express their support.
The county Board of Supervisors voted Monday to seek engineering proposals to have a consultant prepare models for a possible new county water and sewer system. Supervisors are exploring whether a county operation may be more cost-effective and efficient. Proposals are due June 12.
The county would hire a consultant in July. The consultant's final report would be submitted to the county in October.
CEO Roundtable spokesman Dustin Swanger in a May 6 letter to county Board of Supervisors Chairman William Waldron noted his group on May 1 "strongly" supported the county exploring "creation of this regional system."
"As representatives of the business leaders, employers and industries of the Fulton-Montgomery region, the purpose of the CEO Roundtable is to support effects that move our region forward and to work to create a business-friendly environment that will allow our region to grow," Swanger wrote.
Swanger noted past "bickering" in local media between the Glove Cities in providing water and sewer services.
"We applaud Fulton County for having the vision to see the potential for growth in our region with investment in necessary services," Swanger wrote. "The supervisors have done a very good job making difficult budgetary decisions over the past few years. However, now is the time to invest in our future. Regional growth is the only answer to the prosperity of Fulton County."
CRG President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese wrote a May 6 letter to Waldron indicating his board May 2 also supported the county plan.
"We have to be able to make prudent decisions, based upon the economics of a proposed project, on where to extend public water and wastewater treatment capacity in order to generate future
growth throughout Fulton County," Reese wrote.
He said the new system would "result in new opportunities to develop large tracts of land that currently are not viable for industrial or commercial investment."
Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility consultant George Bevington last week informed his sewer board about the county's plans, and further discussion is expected at upcoming board meetings.
Facility Wastewater Engineer Tyler Masick said Wednesday he has "no sense" of what his board thinks about the idea yet.
"They understand this is a very preliminary investigation into whether this is even doable or not," Masick said.
Michael Anich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.