By JOHN BORGOLINI
Fulton County Express

JOHNSTOWN – After months of planning and waiting, town workers have began construction on its animal shelter.
Code Enforcement Officer Ryan Fagan said that following the completion of the records room addition to the town building, workers turned their focus to the County Highway 122 location for the much needed animal shelter which is expected to be completed this month.
“All the plumbing is installed. The insulation is installed. The form [for the foundation] is up. I’m probably going to go up there today and do the radiant heat plumbing, get that installed,” Fagan said last Wednesday. “And we’re probably looking at pouring concrete later this week.”
The town has been in need of a place for animals for almost a year now after when veterinarian, Dr. Peter Bluvas, retired at the end of 2014. Since then, Town Dog Warden Nancy Hart has been pressured by state officials to find somewhere to place stray animals, but has had no luck. So the town board approved building a town shelter in May after months of discussion.
The shelter will be located on County Highway 122, across from Johnson Avenue. Once completed it will be 20 by 30 feet with 10 kennels.
Supervisor Nancy MacVean had previously said that the city of Johnstown is in a similar situation as they are currently holding them in their Water Department’s building, and city officials had agreed to install water lines to the shelter at no cost if they can use the shelter as well.
Last week, however, MacVean said now the city is billing the town $1,300 for the hookup to city water.
“I still have to negotiate with them, because their dog warden in the city has been storing a couple of dogs in the city water department building, and they bark and drive them crazy,” she said. “They’re trying to have meetings. And they can’t, because the dogs are barking. So we’re still trying to negotiate a little something where we can get free water out of the deal or something, free hookup, if we take a couple of dogs.”
MacVean said she hopes to get this resolved within the next month.
Initially, they believed the shelter would require them to borrow $35,000 to build, but in June they determined that the shelter would only cost $25,000. They decided the money could be taken from the town’s contingency fund – a miscellaneous or emergency fund that often goes unused.
Fagan also said the town hasn’t had to use any outside help for the work that has been completed thus far.
“Our highway department’s done all the excavation. I’ve been doing all the rough plumbing, and I’ll be doing all the finish plumbing as well,” he said. “So far it’s all been done in house. [By the end of the month] the structure will at least be up. We still have to tie into National Grid, and I know the supervisor is working on getting water from the city.”
Hart had previously said once it’s complete, the dogs will be kept in the shelter overnight, with workers remaining there until 6 or 7 p.m.
Hart said she still gets calls from the state checking on the status of the town’s animals, but she hasn’t heard from them in a few weeks.
“Basically, they’re asking me what I’m doing with the animals that I pick up. I told them that currently I haven’t been picking them up. They’ve been finding their owners, or people have been holding them.”