Council approves advisor services

Johnstown Mayor Vern Jackson reads announcements during the Common Council meeting Monday night at City Hall. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Common Council approved a municipal advisor services agreement with a Long Island firm Monday night at City Hall.

Mayor Vern Jackson was authorized to execute the agreement with Munistat Services Inc. of Port Jefferson Station.

The firm will provide the city financial advisory services regarding bond issues, retroactive to July 2 and remaining in effect until terminated upon a written 30-day notice by either party. The city’s cost associated with the agreement wasn’t made public.

Jackson said he conversed with city Treasurer Michael Gifford, who said the city has had an ongoing bonding services arrangement with Munistat, but not contractual.

“My understanding from Mr. Gifford is that Munistat has been doing this service forever,” the mayor said. “Now they’ve determined that a contract is necessary.”

According to its website, Munistat Services Inc. was established in 1977 as a financial advisor. Munistat currently serves several hundred local governments, school districts and non-profit organizations throughout New York state.

In other business, the council rescinded a previous resolution that accepted a bid from Kevin L. Smith for a city-owned property located at 6 Spring St.

“Kevin L. Smith no longer wishes to purchase the property due to unanticipated potential remediation costs as a result of an underground storage tank located on the property,” Monday’s resolution indicated.

Pursuant to the City Charter, the council authorized the Spring Street property be offered for private sale in the future.

City Engineer Christopher Vose said the storage tank found could be for fuel oil, “but I’m not entirely sure.”

He said the state Department of Environmental Conservation may become involved. If the materials are contaminated, he said they may have to be removed.

“We’ll just have to decide what we want to do,” Vose told the council.

In another discussion, Jackson said he met with a new owner of the former Rainbow Restaurant’s building on East Main Street. He said he toured the structure, which is starting to be cleaned up. He didn’t indicate future building plans.

“It didn’t really look that bad in there,” the mayor said.

Jackson said the owner has cleaned up piles of brush in the back of the building.

City Code Enforcement Officer Bruce Heberer said there are some code issues with the building.

Police Chief David Gilbo said there are some public safety issues, such as with the driveway and right of ways.

“We have had a couple of complaints so far,” he said.

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