Progress: South Williamsport
South Side has taken big steps at integrated neighbor in 2020
By MARK MARONEY
The boroughs of South Williamsport and DuBoistown are neighbors, so their officials have taken steps this year to join forces on police and stormwater management — to provide more coverage and to fund and manage complex environmental compliance issues related to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.
South Williamsport, which has about 6,600 residents, grows exponentially during the annual Little League World Series each August when hundreds of thousands of people converge on the community across from Williamsport to watch the games and to stay at local hotels and eat at restaurants.
DuBoistown borough is east of South Williamsport. It is smaller in size and population, with about 1,500 people, according to the 2010 Census.
Each of these communities has a borough council, mayor and borough managers.
Borough managers Ann Baker, of DuBoistown, and Steven W. Cappelli, of South Williamsport, are available on most business days Monday through Friday, and can be reached easily for any comments regarding borough business.
As managers, these are paid positions
As the year moves on, shared-services agreements on police and stormwater management have become the talk of the residents for these communities, the managers told the Sun-Gazette.
The agreements between these communities on public safety and on necessary compliance with state and federal mandates on the environment will be the most important aspects of the year, Cappelli and Baker noted.
Police protection and stormwater management
One of the more progressive moves by both communities leaderships were votes to dissolve DuBoistown Police Department in favor of paying for full-time coverage by South Williamsport Police Department, Baker said.
Both communities felt it made sense, especially DuBoistown, to have full-time coverage from the borough police force, she said.
DuBoistown pays $117,000 a year in a contract approved, Baker said. For that, the borough is covered around-the-clock should police emergencies or calls be made, she said.
A substation in DuBoistown is available for South Williamsport patrol officers, she said.
“Now, when someone calls 911 for a police emergency, the borough police on patrol or at the station will be on the scene quickly without residents or businesses having to wait for state police or another mutual aid department,” Baker said.
Other intergovernmental cooperative agreements were finalized this year.
Each of the boroughs councils decided on mergers related to stormwater management permit compliance. The programs represent service sharing and regional problem solving, Cappelli said.
Priorities in 2020 will target neighborhood revitalization and blight elimination, rezoning to ease burdensome regulations that impede commercial development, new multi-family housing development to support working professionals and seniors and continued dialogue with neighboring municipalities on regional approaches to cost containment and inter-municipal service delivery, he said.
South Williamsport residents will see a street resurfacing program continue after contracts were awarded in September for $2.3 million of work, Cappelli said.
More than 20 streets in the eastern and western sections of the borough will undergo milling, paving, curbing, stormwater intake and handicapped accessible intersection work beginning in the spring, he said.
Likewise, Baker said she is interested in seeing seasonal help being hired to do mowing, deweeding and other chores, to allow the full-time streets workers to concentrate on larger projects, such as repairing catch basins, adding asphalt to potholes and unclogging storm drains.
In South Williamsport, residents will see demolition to eliminate the pool complex, which has been closed for many years and represents an ongoing liability, Cappelli said.
Cappelli and Baker both attested to cementing partnerships with the county Water and Sewer Authority to achieve Systemwide Improvement Framework recertification on the levee with the Army Corps of Engineers and the stormwater Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plan Permit with the state Department of Environmental Protection.
“It is anticipated that contracts for $2 million in levee relief well repairs will be awarded by spring, with a subsequent contract for cross pipes later this year,” Cappelli said.
The county, borough and city have applied for more than a $1 million in grant funding to cover the cost of the cross pipes, he added. An award decision is expected by April.
The stormwater partnership with the authority and DuBoistown will formally begin on July 1, Cappelli said.
Grant funding through the Growing Greener Plus program has been applied for totaling $380,000, he said.
These projects are meant to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering the river sufficiently to achieve permit compliance for both boroughs, he said.