Mayor: Pool funding may be dried up

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana says he might not have enough money to keep a city pool open.

Campana spoke of the financial problem after the regular session of City Council Thursday night and on the record.

“As it is now, I don’t have enough money to keep a pool open,” he said. The city has obtained $500,000 in grants, but Campana wants to spend $250,000 more from what’s borrowed in a bond ordinance.

Campana also is upset the ordinance doesn’t allow him to spend $125,000 on a streetlight initiative meant to reduce and prevent crime.

City Council, meanwhile, didn’t reopen discussion on the $20 million bond issue passed earlier to allow the city to borrow $2 million for projects such as Reach Road reconstruction, Bowman Field, public services, a recycling center and a salt shed and repairs to City Hall.

Instead, Campana and council told the Sun-Gazette to reopen would require readvertising.

Campana also said he’d ideally like the money spent on East End Pool, but the city hasn’t decided on whether it will be the pool at East End or Memorial Park’s.

That upset resident Irish Griffin, a West Fourth Street resident who asked the city to not neglect the black and African American community by keeping the pool at Memorial Park closed.

Council President Bill Hall adamantly said council has never made decisions based on race, gender, religion or creed or any other form of discrimination.

A proposed Williamsport Rental ordinance to combat crime and hold landlords and tenants accountable is expected to go before public safety committee Oct. 1.

Councilman Randall J. Allison said he is concerned that in the midst of talk and comments in the newspaper, people may not understand council has an obligation and responsibility to do its due dilegence, research the information and “make our best decision.”

The proposed ordinance has undergone several revisions, but not all of council has been privy to every form of the draft of the ordinance.

“We need to tone down the volume,” Allison said. “It’s worthwhile to note to be the most effective council we can and we must have time. It’s not been vetted yet.”

Allison said it was his belief, as a member of the committee, the public wants “us” to get it right, especially when it comes to public safety.

“We haven’t seen it,” said Councilwoman Liz Miele and Councilman Jonathan Williamson of the proposed ordinance or any draft of it following the regular council session.

Those interested can go to the Williamsport website and look at the public safety information and articles written by police Capt. Tim Miller, who has researched the matter over the past eight months, and said he has first-hand knowledge of how it can work.

The mayor said at least five communities nearby are waiting to see how council votes on the proposed ordinance.

Some of these leaders of the communities, according to the mayor, have expressed how if the law is passed the “druggies” will move out of the city and into their municipalities and will “need a place to live.”