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City Council candidates address Rotary Club

Two voices of experience on Williamsport City Council want votes on Nov. 5.

Republican incumbent Councilman Bonnie Katz and former Council President Bill Hall told Rotary Club of Williamsport Monday that it’s not a time for novices to be making decisions at City Hall.

With a $15 million-plus levee recertification, storm water management and police and fire potentially requiring regionalization to save on pension cost, both candidates asked for voters to consider the high toll of not choosing experience in the Nov. 5 general election.

Both candidates spoke about their history of working on projects that benefited the city over the years.

Katz most recently has advocated for a police canine unit and is chair of the public works committee, which means she is involved in the levee, street reconstruction, Grafius Run engineering studies and storm water management.

Hall said his experience goes back to the initial Market Street Bridge downtown revitalization project in the late 1990s.

He served most recently as council president for four years and was on council for 12 years.

During that time, Hall worked with former Mayor Mary B. Wolf and Mayor Gabriel J. Campana.

Katz said the city no longer “feels like an island” when it comes to the levee, and work with the county, federal and state governments and private consulting firms has lessened the burden on the recertification.

Hall said while the $15 million levee project has gone well towards identifying what needs to be repaired and funded, long-term funding needs to be established so that future generations aren’t left holding the bill and overtaxed because of the levee.

He noted the same long-term funding ideas must be considered with the stormwater system, 110 miles of pipes and lines underneath the city. Both the levee and the stormwater system must be done in the next four years, he said.

Both candidates support efforts to study the benefits of regionalizing police and fire departments.

Katz moved to the city 40 years ago. She is owner of Le Chocolat. She is seeking a third term in office.

Hall is retired and drives part-time for Uber, most recently handling the passenger loads from the Penn State “White Out” game against Michigan.

Prior to serving in government, Hall was a political consultant for the former Gov. Tom Ridge, a jury commissioner and he ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor.

Katz said she considered Hall to be one of her mentors. Hall, in kind, said Katz has been on council when it has accomplished a renaissance for the city.

Others on the ballot include Republicans Vincent Pulizzi and Adam Yoder and Democrats Tiasha Machuga, Dave Banks and Jon Mackey.

Katz and Hall asked for consideration when voters head to the polls in the 17 city wards on Nov. 5.

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