JOHNSTOWN - The city's proposed $2.4 million Department of Public Works budget for 2013 shows a 10 percent increase, but most of that represents reimbursable federal funding for Rail Trail work planned for next year.
The city is expected to send out requests for proposals for trail design services by the end of the month.
City Engineer Chandra Cotter indicated in May she wants to implement a Rail Trail Improvement Program, mostly in 2013, which uses leftover federal money to modernize parts of the trail.
The city of Johnstown’s proposed 2013 Department of Public Works budget is discussed Monday at City Hall. From left are City Engineer Chandra Cotter, Mayor Sarah Slingerland and City Treasurer Michael Gifford.
The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich
Cotter said a section of the trail through the city could be repaved with a 1 1/2-inch topcoat, something she said is sorely needed. Also, she said improvements could involve adding new signs and a trail head on the Union Avenue side of the trail.
In presenting her proposed $2.4 million DPW budget to the Common Council Monday at City Hall, she noted that although the budget shows a 10.3 percent increase from 2012, Rail Trail improvement funding is a "major contributing factor" to the hike. About $275,000 has been appropriated for the project for 2013.
"About 80 percent of that we'll see back as federal reimbursement," Cotter said.
Without the earmark, she said DPW would probably see a roughly $20,000 decrease in appropriations for 2013.
Second Ward Councilman Chris Foss delivered Cotter's monthly DPW report to the council, noting some movement on the Rail Trail project is expected soon. He said Cotter is sending out requests at the end of October for design services for the Rail Trail Improvement Project. Work is being funded as part of the federal Transportation Enhancement Program's remaining grant funds through Fulton County and the state Department of Transportation, he said.
Foss said proposals will be due back at the end of November, with the award by the end of the year.
Actual construction work to extend the Rail Trail hasn't been done in Fulton County for six years.
The original trail project was initiated in the late 1980s and early 1990s after the closing of the FJ&G Railroad. The plan turned the railroad route into a recreational trail, giving walkers, cyclists, joggers and skaters a place to take in local scenery and the waters of the Cayadutta Creek.
The original plan called for 18 miles, but the goal of having one end of the trail extend into the village of Broadalbin has fallen short.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com.