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City considers scaling down borrowing

JOHNSTOWN — The city may be scaling down borrowing for city projects in light of a more conservative approach during uncertain times.

Since 2019, and since the COVID-19 outbreak struck, the city has planning to take out a bond. The city plan has looked at borrowing about $2 million for several desired projects by city departments.

City Treasurer Michael Gifford said Tuesday that three projects through the bonding package have been already approved by the Common Council. But he said the city may want to take a look at the fiscal ceiling of the eventual bond to be taken out.

“I think it’s time to redo it and get back to the council,” Gifford said.

So far, he said the city has had about $450,000 approved for two garbage trucks for the Department of Public Works and a roof replacement for the Johnstown Senior Citizens Center.

“We’ve done three smaller projects,” Gifford said.

The treasurer’s office during the second half of last year worked with department heads to create a list of potential purchases. He developed a potential bond for city projects and equipment, whose overall costs eventually creeped up toward $2 million. That was before the pandemic struck municipalities and states in late winter and early spring.

Gifford noted the council in March voted to purchase two garbage trucks for the city — one used and one new.

The council approved awarding a bid to Joe Johnson equipment, and purchasing a $125,000 used 2017 Western Star truck. The council also voted to purchase a $190,199 2021, new Western Star garbage truck from L.H. Gage Sales Inc.

On June 15, the council authorized a $68,000 contract with Correll Contracting Corp. of Gloversville to repair the roof at the Johnstown Senior Citizen’s Center.

Still, Gifford said he hasn’t issued the overall bond yet, which will eventually be done with “single borrowing” through one large note.

“We haven’t done any borrowing,” the treasurer said. “We’re going to get back to that.”

Among other items being considered by city officials are: A salt storage building, plow with sander, excavator, skid steer loader, two pickup trucks with plows, police vehicles and related equipment, pumper truck, pickup truck with plow and cap, and a new ambulance.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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