Plan on flooding, pollution needed … but costly
Lycoming County will take part in a multi-county initiative to address flooding risks and reduce pollution. As the Sun-Gazette reported Wednesday, the plan includes more staff and equipment, engineering costs, and education and outreach materials.
The projected cost of the plan is $36.7 million, which is where our reservations begin. Natural resources planner Eve Adrian notes that the plan will be funded with grants, and we certainly appreciate that Lycoming County’s property tax revenues will not be further strained by the initiative.
But grants are still our federal and state tax dollars, and between our national debt and deficit and the state’s needs to improve roads, pay for contractually obligated pensions and fund police and other public services, those state and federal tax dollars are stretched thin as well.
We hope and trust our county officials will do their best to ensure the spending goes as far as it can, and eliminate waste and excess wherever possible.
We also have reservations about past efforts to address erosion and pollutant runoff, which too often have been focused on one small part of the challenge: Agriculture. Farmers have gone above and beyond — and we trust will continue to go above and beyond — in reducing runoff from fields. We hope the plan includes shared sacrifices by other industries and other uses of land.
We all want to prevent flooding and we all want to reduce pollution from entering our watershed. We hope our county officials remain diligent in protecting our state and federal tax dollars and making sure we get the most for our money, and we hope we recognize the responsibility to address these issues rests with all of us, and not only our farming neighbors and family.