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City approves agreement to create stormwater authority

City Council approved a memorandum of understanding with Williamsport Sanitary Authority Thursday to create a stormwater authority, one that could assess fees on residential, commercial and industrial properties as well as nonprofits.

In order for the underground discharge systems to be managed properly and repaired, an authority was considered to be a strategy going forward.

“It’s really just a first memorandum of understanding to get to the intergovernmental agreement in a few months,” said Adam Winder, city general manager of streets and parks.

A separate firm will be brought in to assist on any loose ends and have the parties work together on the end goal, he said.

Councilwoman Bonnie Katz, chair of the 2019 council public works committee, noted how the city and authority have developed a plan and are on the same path.

She noted how the company to be hired to go over getting to the goal is experienced and that the city could not possibly afford nor does it have the staff or equipment to manage the stormwater needs.

The U.S. EPA and state Department of Environmental Protection permits and mandates require municipalities removing silt from the discharge system and cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

Earlier estimates were given. At the time, the average household would pay about $17 per quarter in their water/sanitary bills.

A similar program is under development in South Williamsport and DuBoistown, which joined forces with the Lycoming County Sewer and Water Authority.

Those customers will begin to receive a bill by at least July, said Steven W. Cappelli, South Williamsport borough manager.

Cappelli also serves as the volunteer chairman of the water authority.

He recent told the board there the mutual agreements on these discharge collection systems and the eventual authorities that are created are a means of protecting the rate-payers from having to pay much larger and intolerable costs through taxes.

Early estimates are there is more than $20 million in repair and replacement needs in the city infrastructure.

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