A new level of regional thinking needed on levee
Not only is certification of the levee protecting Wiliamsport and surrounding communities necessary, it is complex.
Stormwater management upgrades and pollution reduction mandates must be met in concert with the recertification process.
Besides being necessary and complex, the process is exorbitantly expensive.
Solving all the issues, answering all the mandates and getting the flood certification are expected to cost $20 million.
Steven W. Cappelli is in a unique position to appreciate the financial burden and how it must be handled. He is a former mayor of Williamsport, currently borough manager of South Williamsport and also chairman of the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority.
So when he says the only viable solution to funding the levee certification and mandated work is regional cost-sharing, it ought to carry some weight.
We shall see.
As we have said many times in this space, the levee does not just protect Williamsport. It protects all the municipalities that border it. Beyond that, those municipalities would suffer badly if Williamsport was set back by flood levee shortcomings.
We have called for years for a more regionalized approach to local problems and there has been progress in that area.
But not nearly enough.
Too often, parochial attitudes keep people from working together as well as they should.
Williamsport is the county seat of Lycoming County. As such, it has the greatest responsibilities of any municipality.
And as such, it should have partners when it is mandated to solve problems that go beyond its fiscal capabilities, problems that must be solved for the benefit of all residents of Greater Williamsport.
It’s time for local officials to reach a new level of regionalized thinking to solve the levee recertification situation.