More money heads toward levee

The Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce is giving $500,000 toward the levee recertification, while an authority overseeing water and sanitary service for thousands of customers reviews a $1 million request.

“We are giving $500,000 toward the levee project,” said Jason Fink, chamber executive director at the morning member connection meeting Wednesday at the Genetti Hotel.

The donation is expected to provide leverage for the project in terms of future proposed federal dollars, he explained.

Later that day, the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority, following a question from William Nichols Sr., tabled any action on a request from Lycoming County commissioners for the authority to give $1 million toward the levee recertification process.

Instead, the authority voted to hold off on the decision, placing it into the hands of Joseph Orso, its solicitor, so the attorney can determine whether the authority has the legal right under the Municipal Authorities Act to grant such a request.

The recertification process is estimated to cost $16 million if done over the next five years.

The next phase is to use a $2 million state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects grant to install relief wells, said Fran McJunkin, deputy director of the county Planning Department and a “levee go-to-person” and spokeswoman for the Greater Williamsport Levee Group.

The levee also needs to have replaced crosspipes and heightened and stronger wall along the Lycoming Creek side, McJunkin said.

The recertification is required as part of stricter regulations on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-built levees following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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