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Incoming Johnstown mayor Amy Praught says IT system, infrastructure need upgrades

old water pipes in Burlington
Pat Bradley
WAMC file photo

Amy Praught was recently elected to become the next mayor of Johnstown, New York. Praught, a former city councilor, will succeed Mayor Vern Jackson, a fellow Republican.

WAMC's Lucas Willard spoke with Praught about her goals as mayor and what she thought resonated with voters in the Fulton County city.

Amy Praught:

I think people feel comfortable with me because I asked questions. I'm not afraid to ask questions. I'm not afraid to speak up. And I I actually have initiatives, I actually have short term and long term initiatives for the city of Johnstown. My, my short term initiatives are bringing our city up to the 21st century. We we have a system that is very outdated, our software's outdated. We do our payrolls by hand. You know, it's, it's, it's a very antiquated system. And it doesn't work for the 21st century. You know, we've had some problems, as you've probably read in the paper in the past, where, you know, we've been written up on the state because certain certain reports were filed or filled out, that should not be a problem of the 21st century. There's software out there that prepares your reports for you that they print out when they're due. They're all done, everything's been inputted. I just feel a lot of that needs to change. We have no credit card system in our city. You can't go online and purchase a permit or pay your taxes or do anything online, because we have no credit card system. It's just really old school. And in as far as that goes, we need to update that. And that's a priority by one.

Lucas Willard:

Congress just approved the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in August. That's a big opportunity, I imagine for a small city like Johnstown. Do you have any ideas? Have you started to consider forming any groups or any committees to look at that batch of federal dollars right now?

Amy Praught:

Actually, that's something that I've been talking about with a few council people. And, you know, the technology in the the infrastructure bill, obviously includes a lot of stuff to do with technology, a lot of the stuff for updating our technology, you know, our software, you know, our, you know, our timekeeping systems. That's what this infrastructure bill technology is for, I believe, and I believe that we would qualify, and I'm looking at that, but yeah, first and foremost, our our water infrastructure is in such need of repair. We're talking millions, were waiting for a bond at the city for $7.4 million to upgrade our infrastructure for the water department. Because we are in desperate need of of work on our you know, our water system. If dollars came down through the system, with the new infrastructure bill, that would be fantastic. That would, you know, that would be you know, a real real plus for our city.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.