A city in debt

With Mark Maroney’s report of “Capital Projects” for the city of Williamsport in the July 26 edition of the newspaper, my understanding of the article is that the city of Williamsport is $12 million in debt, and that they want to take out a line of credit to boost the total city debt to $20 million, giving the city a new line of credit to spend $7.2 million dollars. If this is correct, is this going to put the city of Williamsport on track to become a member of the numerous municipal governments that have gotten themselves in sustainable debt for future elected officials to figure out how to get out? Isn’t this what is known as “Generational Theft?”

I found an interesting article on the internet, which I will include for your consumption, concerning other Pennsylvania cities that are on the “Road to Detroit.” One interesting note is that the city of Harrisburg, which the Harrisburg Patriot in a May 2012 front page article indicated is $1.53 billion, that’s billion, not million, in debt.

I see that the enclosed article indicates that Harrisburg city recently announced that it has reached an agreement that would remove $600 million in long term debt. It would be interesting to know how they achieved that success. But Harrisburg would still have the highest per capita debt for its citizens in the state. I would think that such action might discourage investors from ever investing in municipal bonds.

I noticed that the city of Williamsport recently gave a legal notice in the Sun-Gazette for contractors to submit bids for work at Bowman Field. Do you think that it is wise for the city to spend money on Bowman Field, which I would deem a luxury, if the city streets are in such a state of disrepair that it has annoyed businesses.

I see Frito-Lay is concerned with the condition of Reach Road west of Catawissa. That has not been taken care of in probably over 20 years. Why isn’t the annual city budget allocating money for street work re-surfacing and repair in every year?

Is the administration of Gabe Campana laying the foundation to travel the “Road to Detroit?” It’s unfortunate that the photo-copied article only included cities of Pennsylvania that the population peaked at more than 50,000 inhabitants. I would have liked to see where Williamsport stood on the list if it were included. At one time, perhaps many years ago, I recall Williamsport having around 50,000 citizens. Now it’s only around 29,000 inhabitants, at least the inhabitants that are counted.

Hugh E. McGee