Grant request for flood levee meets priority standard

Every day in Harrisburg there is spending by state government that is wasteful and not in keeping with what should be Pennsylvania government spending priorities.

Flood protection is just the opposite.

In a state full of rivers, streams and creeks that are subject to flooding from torrential and the annual freeze-thaw cycle, the prospects of flooding are perpetual.

We would hope those in the decision-making chairs remember that when they receive a $5 million flood protection grant request being submitted on behalf of several municipalities.

The partners in the grant request are Williamsport, Lycoming County, South Williamsport and Old Lycoming and Loyalsock townships.

City Council delayed action on the grant application Thursday night over wording concerns.

We hope that’s all it is, but because the city, county and municipalities have been charged with making repairs to the local levee that carry an estimated $12 million price tag. The fixes ordered by engineers include replacing or repairing relief wells, building a sturdier wall and raising the levee “freeboard” by 3 feet, the distance from water to the top of the levee.

There is no choice regarding the repairs. Without them, people protected by the levee would have to pay exorbitant flood insurance costs. The economic impact on them would be too much too bear and the impact on real estate in the county would be catastrophic.

Federal grant dollars also are being sought.

If local parties are successful in getting either or both of the grants, that would greatly reduce the impact on local governments, which in turn would reduce the impact on local taxpayers.

It’s not as if the local governments are asking for something frivolous here, particularly where the state grant is concerned.

Flooding is a consistent threat throughout Pennsylvania.

While we appreciate the crying need for the state and federal governments to stop spending money frivolously and wasteful, flood protection is as far away from either of those categories as anything.

We hope the Williamsport wording issues are solved quickly and this grant application can be filed with the full might of the flood protection partners.