City councilman seeks Republican nomination
A veteran member of Williamsport City Council is seeking the Republican nomination for City Council in the May 18 primary.
Randall J. Allison, council president, is in his final year of his third term.
He said he sees the next four years as a time of opportunity and challenges for the city.
“My motivation to serve another four years is to be a part of the council team in collaborating with the administration to combine our efforts to successfully turn the corner on all of the important matters facing our city,” he said.
“As I’ve reflected upon the past year, I became more aware of the fact that 2020 ushered in a comprehensive transition in our city government,” Allison said.
“The change of administration began with a new mayor, then proceeded with new directors or department heads at River Valley Transit, the Bureau of Fire — with a department chief and assistant chief, departments of Community and Economic Development and recreation and the hiring of a new engineer.
Still in process are new director hires for departments of finance and streets and parks.
Council welcomed four new members, transitioned to moving meetings to Trade and Transit Centre II, then to the online format, navigated through fire, police and transit union contracts and commenced a months-long process by forming an ad hoc committee to study and make a recommendation on renovating the current City Hall or moving to a new location.
Added to all of this was the case that many projects and developments were delayed or temporarily ceased due to the pandemic and its effect, he said.
Looking forward to 2021 and beyond, council is unanimous in its opinion that economic development is the number one priority for the city government to maintain financial stability for itself, the citizens and taxpayers, he said.
When presented with a 2.5 mill real estate tax increase last November council went to work with the administration and made cuts to reduce it to .5 mills, however that is not the long-term answer to a balanced budget.
Growing non real estate-related income through jobs and development is the sustainable solution.
To this point, the council initiated East Third Street Old City Gateway project in conjunction with major renovations by Lycoming College has progressed through the infrastructure work of multiple utility and street renewals now making it ready to be marketed for development.
The companion Park Avenue corridor development study that was commissioned by a partnership of the city and UPMC is ready to enter its first phase of implementation and bring improvement and promise to that underdeveloped area of the city, Allison said.
The major infrastructure issues regarding the levee re-certification, Grafius Run flooding and federally mandated storm water mitigation are all concurrently in different stages of being addressed, but identifying funding streams and the planning to complete these projects will be an ongoing process for some years, Allison said.
Allison’s experience includes serving on the Williamsport Area School District board of directors from 1985-1997, one year as vice president and two years as president; coaching Brandon Little League softball and baseball for nine years and serving on the Pregnancy Care Center board for six years, two as treasurer.
While on council Allison served on the following committees: Finance, public safety, public works, housing needs and economic revitalization.
“I’ve served as vice president and president of council and in my 12th year as council representative on the STEP, Inc. board of directors,” Allison said.
“A lifelong city resident, Allison graduated from Williamsport High School and attended the University of Notre Dame and Lycoming College.
He and his wife, Debbie, reside on Elmira Street in the city.