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Sanitary system move to agency likely won’t come without costs

On paper, the move of management of Williamsport’s stormwater management system from city government to the Williamsport Sanitary Authority makes sense.

The agreement, pushed for by Mayor Gabriel J. Campana and approved recently by City Council, has been several years in the making.

The agreement covers whatever materials are below the ground. In the case of the city, a lot of what is underground is quite old. It’s easy to see a future that includes the need for modernization and replacement of all or parts of the city’s sanitary system.

It makes sense that the sanitary authority oversee that work and become the agency that pays for that work.

But people need to keep their eyes wide open. That necessary updating of the system will not come without costs.

The agreement approved recently did not include the setting up of a fee system. That stage is yet to come.

Call it the other shoe dropping. Those fees and adjustments in the future will be heavily impacted by the age of the city’s sanitary system and the upgrading and modernization work that is inevitable.

No one should be deluded into thinking this necessary work will come without increases in the sanitary fee coming with their water bill.

The hope should be that the sanitary system is better off being managed and maintained by the sanitary authority at customer costs that are offset by savings to the city. Only the future can show that to be true or not, but we hope that was the goal of the transferring of the system management to the sanitary authority.

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