Stormwater transfer to authority makes most sense for city

The city of Williamsport has an aging stormwater system.

Future years will likely see numerous necessary and costly repairs.

The unfunded mandates that the city does not have the manpower or finances to answer for also will not be going away.

The same holds true for the orders to reduce sediment going into the Susquehanna River and then the Chesapeake Bay.

So, in our view, turning over management and financial responsibility for the stormwater system to the Williamsport Sanitary Authority makes logical sense.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana and his administration have expressed disagreement with the deal reached last week by council after three years of negotiation.

They would like to see the authority pay the city to take over the stormwater system.

If that were a realistic possibility, we would agree. But it makes no sense for the authority to pay in addition to taking on responsibility and future costs that could total in the millions of dollars.

And while it’s true that those costs may get passed along to authority customers in the form of rate increases, the city is in no position to handle the work that may result in the future with its labor force.

And with an air-tight budget and few other resources, this or a future city administration also is less equipped than the agency to handle those costs whenever they arise.

Leaving the stormwater management, work and costs with the professionals – the sanitary authority – makes the most sense for the city’s future.