The city’s independently elected Water Board appears to have survived the second attempt in five years to abolish it.
Fulton County Board of Elections officials completed the “unofficial” count of the absentee ballot and affidavit ballot votes for the referendum to abolish the Johnstown Water Board Wednesday. The count showed the Water Board’s lead of 79 in-person votes narrowed to 40, but voters to maintain the elected board’s existence still won with 1,600 no-votes to abolition against 1560 yes votes.
The election was much closer than the 2015 referendum to abolish Johnstown’s Water Board, which failed by a vote of 817-583.
Water Board President Mike Capparello said he was happy the elected board will continue to exist. He said the board’s first order of business will be regaining control of its bank accounts, which City Treasurer Mike Gifford took control of in September under the auspices of the city’s 2019 “investment policy” resolution, which gives the city treasurer signatory control over all city bank accounts.
The Fulton County BOE also said Wednesday that Jared Goderie and Ralph Marotta each received enough write-in votes to be placed on the elected board. BOE officials did not provide precise write-in vote counts Wednesday.
Capparello said he was told by BOE officials that Goderie received the most write-ins for all three of the vacant Waterboard seats, but he believes Goderie may be eligible to serve on the board due to his also having been elected Johnstown 1st Ward Supervisor, which he did on the same ballot.
Capparello said the board needs to determine whether it has to appoint one, two or three of the vacant Waterboard seats.
Current Water Board member George DiMarco, frequently described as having the most experience as a member of the elected body, did not receive enough write-in votes to win any of the three vacant seats according to the FC BOE, but Capparello said DiMarco will likely be appointed by the rest of the board to one of the vacant seats.