County seeks funds for levee, Route 15 water line

The Lycoming County commissioners adopted two resolutions Thursday allowing the county to apply for state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grants to help fund both the levee project and the completion of the Route 15 water line project.

Because the total estimated cost of the levee project is over $10 million, the county is eligible for up to $5 million in RACP funding if the application is approved. The state funds then would be matched with $5 million in local funds, said Fran McJunkin, deputy director for geographic information systems.

She said the county will continue to seek federal funding in order to minimize the amount of local dollars that go into the project.

The City of Williamsport has enlisted Jason Fitzgerald, president of Penn Strategies, to write the application.

Fitzgerald said it’s important for the county to be the grant applicant even if the city ultimately is responsible for the levee because the state of the levee is a regional problem.

He added that he met Wednesday with U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Cogan Station, who said he is putting his best efforts into securing federal funding for the project.

“I was very happy with the meeting with Congressman Marino, and really surprised at the level of work that’s already been done on the federal level,” Fitzgerald said. “I think we have a good federal and state team on this.”

The second state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant application is to help fund the second half of the sewer and water line installation along the Route 15 corridor.

The county is seeking $760,250 in RACP funding for the water line project, said Kurt Haussamman, director of planning.

The two applications should not compete with each other for the funding because the projects are so different and very necessary, he added.

“We hope that both of them are important enough that both of them will be funded this year,” he said. “There’s never a guarantee, but we do know that our state officials, our representative and senator, believe in these projects and know how important they are.”

In another matter, the planning department presented its second priority issue within the updated draft of the county comprehensive plan: the economy.

The draft points out the variety of components that make up the county’s economy and offers suggestions for how to best focus on local assets in order to enhance those many components.

Each priority issue within the comprehensive plan is being presented during the Thursday commissioners meetings over the next several weeks. The priority issue drafts can be found online at www.lyco.org along with a survey where people can provide comments, or comments can be made in person in the planning department’s office in Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St., until April 12.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Presented a job-well-done pin to Deputy Controller Nicki Brelsford for her money-saving hard work and dedication.

• Approved four payments totaling $921,999 for equipment repairs for Resource Management Services, including certified power train rebuilds within a 2012 Caterpillar compactor and a 2007 D8T tractor, the installation of repair and wear parts within the single stream recycling system, and a Mack truck engine installation into a 2006 Mack roll off truck.

• Approved the purchase of 18 ballistic helmets for $12,873 for the sheriff’s department.

• Hired Karen O. Bullis as a full-time replacement clerk in the courts at $18.47 per hour, effective April 1.

Commissioners Jack McKernan and Tony Mussare were present. Commissioner Rick Mirabito was absent due to illness. The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday in the Executive Plaza.

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