City leaders insist they can maintain services despite cuts

The city of Williamsport will have seven fewer employees budgeted for 2019, due to fiscal constraints.

Departments impacted include police, codes and streets and parks.

But Mayor Gabriel J. Campana is promising, “We will provide the same quality of service.”

And City Councilman Randall J. Allison said the employee cuts shouldn’t affect services very much.

The optimism is particularly curious regarding the police department, where there will be four fewer officers in 2019.

But incoming police Chief Jody Miller indicated not much impact will be felt.

“We will be taking on a few more assignments and responsibilities,” the chief said, though he added the level of protection and patrol won’t be impacted.

The codes department will be down by two officers, bringing the enforcement staff from six to four.

We have concerns that this will lead to a compromising of the improved level of enforcement that has been a hallmark of the department in recent years.

While certain checklist items may not get done as quickly as possible and the year will be “much more of a challenge,” Codes Administrator Joseph Gerardi is promising the department will maintain its overall service level.

For the sake of city residents, many of them paying a tax increase they cannot afford, we are rooting for all of these city officials to be correct.

And we actually have a point of reference for believing as much can be done with less.

That would be the private sector, where realignments, expansion of responsibilities and added versatility by employees has been the recipe for meeting economic challenges for decades.

It’s not easy, but it can be done with the proper attitudes and high-level management performance by city leadership.

If they are confident, we will choose to be hopeful.