Housing authority closes waiting list

The Lycoming County Housing Authority Board voted Thursday to close the public housing waiting list as of July 1.

The reason?

Too many people are waiting for housing already, according to Housing Authority Director Merylyn Severson.

To her knowledge, it’s the first time since she’s been affiliated with the agency that such action has been taken.

“I attribute it to rising rental (price) units in town,” she said.

Severson said increasing numbers of people who never sought public housing, such as the working poor, now are applying.

Those on a wait list are unable to get such housing for several years.

“We typically turn over 150 units a year,” she said.

In other matters, the board approved a contract with I. Ray Zimmerman, Inc. to upgrade the fire alarm system at the William Hepburn Apartments at a cost of $173,718.

Severson noted that old smoke detectors and other equipment are in need of replacement.

Zimmerman submitted the lone bid for the work.

A contract was approved with Spencer Mechanical, Inc. to replace a water heater at Mary Slaughter Apartments at a cost of $31,500.

Severson noted that two smaller tanks will replace a single tank.

R.C. Bowman was hired for sidewalk and curbing work at the Hepburn Apartments at a cost of $64,500.

Bowman’s bid was among three for the project.

The board approved a contract with Purdy Insurance for $173,019.

Severson noted that insurance costs have risen by 8.7 percent since last year.