Lobbyist a wise investment for costly levee work

The tragic devastation brought by Hurricane Irma serves as a sobering reminder of just what havoc a flood can bring. It also points to the necessity of adequate flood protection and flood insurance. And that’s as much a municipal responsibility as it is a homeowner responsibility.

The flood levee that has been the salvation many times for Williamsport, South Williamsport, Old Lycoming and Loyalsock townships is in need of repairs.

Without those repairs, residents and businesses protected by the levee would have to pay high federal flood insurance. And without those repairs, devastation from flooding would impact residents and businesses to a much greater degree. So there is no choice but to do the repairs.

But the bill is hefty, with an estimated cost of $10 million.

In the hope of receiving grant support to alleviate the cost of the repairs, the municipalities and Lycoming County government are joining together and spending $72,000 to hire a lobbyist, Thomas Keller and Associates, for one year. The county is contributing half the cost, the city a quarter of the cost and the neighboring municipalities $6,000 each.

The lobbyist hired with the money has been successful in obtaining $3.4 million in grants for the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority

An experienced lobbyist, armed with the facts of history in our region, should be able to make a strong case for the area receiving as much federal government support as possible for the levee repairs.

We would definitely call the investment in a lobbyist a wise one.