I think it is ironic that Williamsport has such a large deficit and is considered by the mayor to be a city in pre-distress, particularly when it is an area with an abundance of natural gas that has been being extracted and sold to various companies over the years. Yet, the city is so broke that it cannot even keep two or three public pools open for its children for three months out of the year! And one of the solutions is to take money or benefits away from workers like firefighters who risk their lives in performing a public service!
I recall the numerous pro-gas industry groups, state and city officials that lauded how allowing the gas industry in would solve many economic problems. Big surprise, it did not. What happened is that those who benefited from taking Lycoming County's gas were individuals associated with the gas company, some city and state officials, and private property owners who sold their land or gas rights for a pittance because they felt they had no other choice or just wanted some fast cash.
What has become clear is that although there were temporary economic benefits for certain individuals, the overall and long-term benefit for the city and its residents is, at best, questionable.
Mary E. Kohler
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom