Water-marked concerns underscored by this rain-filled summer

The water that seemed to fall endlessly from the skies this summer has taken its toll locally and caught many off guard. It underscores the need to shore up foundations and take steps to be ready for the next onslaught by Mother Nature.

A recent edition of the Sun-Gazette included front-page stories about mold in schools, stalled work on the levee recertification, continuing flood cleanup and a roundtable pushing for flood insurance in more households than ever.

Mold in schools has not been just a local problem. News reports indicate it’s been an issue in other areas of the state as well. Some speculate the issue was made worse by not operating air conditioning in buildings that are closed during the summer months. Certainly this summer’s rains were heavier than most. If nothing else, all school officials need to take note and more closely monitor environmental conditions moving forward.

The levee recertification needs to be of paramount importance not just to the people living in the city and along the river in the heart of the county, but to those who do business here and the county as well. It is important to remember that Williamsport is the county seat, and her taxpayers carry the load and provide municipal services for all who come here to work, dine, shop and play. It’s been said often, as Williamsport goes, so does Lycoming County, so protecting this asset merits a broader approach than to lump the major effort onto one entity — and one set of taxpayers. And if there’s a hiccup in paying the bills, it needs to be corrected without delay.

Without the levee, a whole new set of property owners would need flood insurance, the price of which is outpacing the incomes of average people living in this region.

Floods bring on massive destruction at times and can be deadly. Cleanup is clostly, difficult and nothing through which anyone wants to go. Protecting communities from flooding should be a foremost concern by our government leaders. This is not the sort of can that should be kicked down the road to another generation, as has been the case since at least the 1950s with the Grafius Run issue.

Moving forward and finding solutions to funding the recertification — and keeping the bills paid — need to be of importance to more than just those living along the river. It needs to be a priority of everyone.

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