Williamsport Mayor Gabriel J. Campana is painting a gloomy budget picture these days and the dominant theme of his sketch involves firemen and police benefits.
He's asked especially of the firemen that concessions be made in their health care and pensions package to stave off what he says could be a two-mill tax increase in 2013.
Normally, it's not good form to negotiate such things in public. And the firemen's representatives say they have been talking with the city. They add that what they are being asked to concede are benefits won through arbitration at a time when the city was not negotiating in good faith.
That's an understandable party line.
But it's also true that the health care and pension package the city's firemen and police have represent a foreign language to the private sector taxpayers who are asked to pay for these benefits.
No deductible for health coverage? Few people enjoy that, these days. And pensions well beyond what most people are entitled to in addition to those benefits.
People everywhere today make concessions due to budget conditions of public entities.
It may be the city of Williamsport's turn to face such a reality in the name of budget and taxpayer sanity.