Johnstown mayor confident code updates, digitization ‘will get done’

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JOHNSTOWN — Horses and buggies are still referenced in Johnstown’s city code.

It’s old. It’s paper. It’s only accessible at City Hall.

Mayor Amy Praught hopes Johnstown city lawmakers Tuesday night will sign off on a contract with General Code to update and digitize city law records. If approved, the nearly $19,000 process is slated to take upwards of a year to finalize.

“If we expect our residents to follow our Code of Ordinances, we need it to be available to them online on our website, up-to-date, so there is no question of ‘OK, that was against code and where’s your Code of Ordinances?’” Praught said.

The new contract resolution has been proposed by Councilman Eric Parker, who didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Johnstown Clerk Carrie Allen has acted as a liason in recent discussions between General Code and city administration.

“We like their timeframe and their experience so hopefully the council agrees and we can move forward with approving the contract,” Praught said.

City officials twice amended a contract with General Code for legislative updates within the last 20 years. The first agreement in 2001 was priced at $18,400, and the second agreement in 2011, $14,866, including $4,600 due from the original contract.

The city didn’t move forward with any prior attempts to update the code, according to Praught, a former Common Council member. She believes that the prospective agreement could help the city pinpoint outdated legislation.

Ordinance records are only available online through the city’s meeting minutes archive, which extends as far back as Dec. 18, 2017​.

Currently, more than 30 municipalities in the surrounding area use General Code’s eCode 360 website to publish digital records, in addition to the abutting city of Gloversville, the town of Johnstown, Broadalbin town and village, Ephratah and Fulton County.

“It will get done during my administration,” said Praught. “It’s just that it has to.”

Praught and her Democratic opponent Michael Rose ran on campaign pledges to bring transparency to the city’s highest office in 2021. The race was fought in the backdrop of an auditing controversy preventing municipal bonding for over a year under the last city treasurer.

The mayor, who won by a landslide, is also expected to highlight the municipality’s fiscal standing, new infrastructure projects following the dissolution of the Water Board, and the recent appointment of a human resources manager during her annual State of the City address Tuesday night.

Her speech is expected to start after 6 p.m. at the same location of the council meeting.

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TylerAMcNeil

By Tyler A. McNeil

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