Chamber levee donation welcome

The Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce recently approved giving $500,000 toward the local levee recertification, which carries an overall price tag of $16 million.

Obviously, this donation alone won’t solve the funding shortfall.

But it’s laudable action by the chamber that should be duplicated by other organizations that are similarly positioned as benefactors of levee recertification who have the resources to help fund the work.

The Williamsport Water and Sanitary Authority is mulling a $1 million request and checking whether it has the legal right to grant the request under the Municipal Authorities Act.

If the agency is allowed, it should approve the request.

These approvals likely would provide leverage for the project in the quest for federal dollars to support the project. That actually is their greatest value.

A $2 million state Redevelopment Capital Projects grant to install relief wells is in place. That alone will not get the recertification done. Crosspipes of the levee need to be heightened and a strong wall built along the Lycoming Creek side.

Without this work, levee recertification from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can’t be gained.

And make no mistake, the levee recertification is not an either/or option. Without, flood insurance rates would be exorbitant for residents in flood plains, crippling the real estate market and severely hampering businesses in Greater Williamsport.

While joint funding support among municipalities within the levee borders should be part of the plan, the municipalities are not capable of handling the entire price tag.

So the chamber’s donation is laudable, the authorities’ donation would be welcome and other such help should be sought.