Sewer rate may increase by 2 percent

JOHNSTOWN — Proposed 2019-20 sewer rates paid by residential and industrial users of the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility are expected to increase by 2 percent, officials said this week.

The Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board the last several years has been able to keep any rate hikes down to the low single-digits.

Board Chairman Wrandy Siarkowski said Friday that the board has been able to draw occasionally from its Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund to help keep rates nominal for users.

“This is how we’re able to keep the rates down,” Siarkowski said.

The sewer board recently heard a presentation on the proposed annual rates. Residential and industrial rates are proposed to increase by 2 percent. Inflow and infiltration fees will increase by $2 per connection.

The proposed rates are subject to a public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Council Chambers at Johnstown City Hall. Adoption of the rates — effective May 1 — is expected following the hearing.

Siarkowski noted his board recently passed a couple resolutions that helped keep the rates down for the coming year. One resolution indicated the City Sewer Use Law allows the board to operate with a fund balance at the end of each fiscal year. That balance can be appropriated by the board “in a manner that meets the fiscal requirements of the facility,” the resolution said.

The resolution said the fund balance from fiscal year 2018 totalled $668,316. The board decided to transfer $200,000 of the fund balance to the Capital and Equipment Reserve Fund, and a larger amount of $468,316 to the Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund. The board then empowered Fiscal Officer Donna Renda to transfer the $468,316 from the Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund to the sewer plant’s General Fund for rate stabilization.

In other recent board business:

∫ The board approved a partial $600 credit from a sewer bill protest from Nabil Issa and Linda Alikhan for property located at 14 Woodside Ave. in Gloversville. The two-family home had burned down in January. The board approved the credit since the structure no longer exists and it couldn’t be proven the excess water entered the sewer system to be treated.

∫ UV Disinfection Project Manager Robert Flores of Delaware Engineering reported the upgrade is operational and nearing completion. State permit disinfection requirements will be met by a May 1 deadline.

∫ The board approved a request by plant Manager Wallace Arnold to seek bids for purchase and installation of a ventilating/AC system for the laboratory located in the facility’s Administration Building, as part of the 2019 capital plan.

∫ Board members awarded a $20,666 bid to Main Motorcar of Johnstown for a 2019 Dodge pickup truck. Four bids had been received.

∫ Board Vice Chairman John Rizzo requested that Arnold provide a tour of the sewer plant to personnel from Beechnut, which is considering an on-site digester.

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