Johnstown to hold public hearing about abolishing Water Board

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown city residents will be able to voice their thoughts on the city council’s push to amend the city charter to get rid of the Water Board and transfer its duties to the council at a public hearing July 18 at 6 p.m.

Tuesday evening. the board voted to hold the hearing — the first step before a referendum on the subject could be held in November. 

The move is just the latest in an ongoing battle between the board and the city over which entity controls the duties and finances regulating water delivery in the city. 

The city has twice brought referendums to city voters — in 2015 and 2020 — to abolish the Water Board, which were both voted down. There have been investigations and currently there is a lawsuit against the city by the water board.

Council member Scott Jeffers said he’s already heard from people that they would be against the change and believe another referendum would be a waste of taxpayer money. 

Council member Scott Miller said he’d like to see there be some accountability with the departments, but also noted the residents elected the people to the Water Board. 

Mayor Amy Praught said she hopes people come to the meeting and make their voices heard on the subject. 

“I’m not doing this because of any past history with the last administration,” Praught said. “This is based on what I think is necessary for the city moving forward.” 

Water Board President Mike Capparello said he doesn’t understand why the board is attempting this again. 

“They [city residents] want a Water Board,” Capparello said. 

He said to push another referendum on the matter is a “slap in the face” to residents. 

Praught said if the referendum is shot down again, she will not bring up the subject again for the remainder of her term.

By Shenandoah Briere

Leave a Reply