Authority rejects county $1 million request on levee

The Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority rejected a request for $1 million Wednesday from Lycoming County to go toward the levee recertification.

The vote was unanimous by the 10-person board.

Fran McJunkin, who is tackling the levee project on behalf of numerous municipal partners and is county deputy planning director, said while the county would have appreciated the donation it understands that the authority may have a long-term strategy to take over operation of the stormwater management of the city and incorporate part of the levee operation into that responsibility.

“If we take over the stormwater management of the city that request would be moot,” said Steven W. Cappelli, water authority chairman.

That is because there are effluent discharge crosspipes that are authority property and go through the levee.

“I hope we get another bite of the apple,” said Jason Fitzgerald, the city economic development consultant and president of Penn Strategies, which is working with the county to obtain funding for the levee. “I would hope the authority board will reconsider this decision.”

Fitzgerald appreciated the donation of funding and time working on the project from county officials and Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.

The authority also unanimously voted in favor of agreeing to a memorandum of understanding with the city on the sanitary and water line replacements as part of the Gateway project near Lycoming College. Total expected commitment to reimburse the city is as much as $560,000 for the portion of East Third and Basin streets. Work begins this spring on the project overseen by Reynolds Construction Management Inc.

The authority is prepared to launch a site on Facebook. The site will be fact-filled and educational. It will not be able to be responded to by users, said Mike Miller, authority executive director.

The authority is narrowing its candidates for engineer with a professional certification, Miller said.

An executive session was held for a matter of personnel reasons, but the authority did not reconvene.

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