The City of Williamsport's health care costs are going up by 11 percent.
The city is facing pension obligations that are exorbitant for its fire and policemen.
The city's tax base and its taxing alternatives are limited.
It is a combination of circumstances that led Mayor Gabriel J. Campana to declare the city in a "predistress" financial condition.
None of that has led to concessions on pensions and health care from the five unions that represent city employees.
As a result, the mayor is planning to introduce a plan Thursday that calls for eliminating positions, not replacing workers, laying off employees, restructuring departments and finding alternative revenue sources to make up for a $1.5 million deficit and a potential 2-mill real estate tax increase.
Lt. Steve Helm, president of the city police union, was not moved by the circumstances or the mayor's plans.
"He's not going to balance the budget on our backs," Helm said. "We're not going to roll over and play dead."
That's one way to look at the circumstances and the possible solution.
Another viewpoint would be to acknowledge city police have pension benefits and a health care package far above what the private sector, many of them city taxpayers, have.
Simply put, the package enjoyed by city police and firemen is unsustainable in the long term.
This has nothing to do with the critical services police and firemen provide each day to the City of Williamsport.
But there are people throughout our area who perform critical services and don't have the benefits city police and firemen have.
We call on the union leaders and the mayor to sit down and come up with some long-term solutions that will have an immediate impact on the city's financial situation before Williamsport becomes just another city that drowned in its own red ink.
It's time to stop holding hostage taxpayers who struggle to pay for their own health care and save for old age in this day when pensions in the private sector are practically obsolete.