STATE HOUSE SAYS YES TO BUDGET

In a rare show of togetherness during budget season, the State House of Representatives yesterday wasted no time in voting 188-10 to pass a state budget plan which sets spending for the upcoming fiscal year at $32.7 billion dollars.  The budget contains no new taxes, and made it’s way through the house with very little debate, very different from Governor Tom Wolf’s first three years in office.  The new budget includes more money for schools, as well as school safety initiatives.  Area lawmakers Garth Everett, Jeff Wheeland and Mike Hanna all voted in the affirmative for the new budget.  It now goes to the state senate where it is also expected to pass and be signed in time for the June 30th budget deadline.

MAYOR DROPS PLANS FOR BUY BACK/LEASE

As Williamsport Mayor Gabriel Campana works on a financial package for the city for next year, the Williamsport Sun Gazette has reported that he has dropped his quest to lease Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority assets to the authority.  The assets are owned by the city, but used by the authority.  The Mayor wanted to take back the assets and lease them back to the authority for regular payments to the city, but was rebuffed by council members.  The mayor says that the city is looking at a very tight spending plan which will probably include a tax increase, and could even include outsourcing and possible employee layoffs.

LOYALSOCK DISTRICT TAX INCREASE

Another area school district has passed it’s final 2018-2019 budget with a tax increase.  Loyalsock School Board Directors yesterday voted 7-1 to approve a budget of a little more than $23 million dollars for the upcoming school year which will contain a .25 mills tax increase, which will mean a $25 increase on a tax bill for a property valued at $100,000.  Revenues are set at $22, 811,500 dollars and district officials say a deficit of a little more than $276,500 will be taken care of by the district’s unassigned fund balance. 

TWO ARRESTED IN CITY

Following a brief situation in the city of Williamsport on Tuesday night, two persons were arrested and charged with fleeing and eluding as well as DUI and other counts.  City police were told to be on the lookout for an erratic driver travelling on Interstate 180 from the Linden area and spotted the vehicle driven by 27 year old Kahlil Lambert of Williamsport which cut across lanes onto the Maynard Street exit, ran a red light and pulled into a parking lot.  When police approached the vehicle, the passenger, 44 year old Dianne Willits jumped into the driver’s side and drove through the parking lot but stopped when she saw other officers.  Both are jailed in lieu of $75,000 bail.

SANITARY AUTHORITY RAISES RATES

Customers of the Williamsport Sanitary Authority will see their bills go up.  The Authority approved a $15.4 million dollar budget yesterday which will contain a 4.3 percent rate increase.  That will mean an extra $18 dollars a year on customer’s bills with the rates increasing from $11 dollars and 35 cents to $11 dollars and 80 cents per thousand gallons of usage.  In addition, it was announced that current South Williamsport borough manager Michel Miller has been hired as the new executive director of the authority.

COUNCIL MEETING TONIGHT

Williamsport City Council meets tonight at city hall with a first reading for the city’s capital projects budget on their agenda.  Council’s finance committee earlier this week gave a positive recommendation for the capital projects budget which totals out to about $80 million dollars over the next six years and includes levee recertification, street paving, as well as stormwater management and flood control along Grafius Run. It’s hoped much of that money can be obtained through Community Development Block Grant funding, as well as federal and state grants. 

CHARTER COMMISSION CONTINUES TO FINE TUNE

The Williamsport Charter Commission continues fine tuning it’s recommendation for city voters of which will be put on the ballot on November 6th. That recommendation is for the city to move away from a strong mayor form of government to a council-manager form instead.  As it stands, the city would still have a mayor but that person would re relegated to ceremonial tasks instead of running the city.  The committee is expected ot put in their draft recommendation that the mayor be elected by city council instead of city voters. 

CRASH IN DUBOISTOWN

Emergency Personnel were called out around 4pm yesterday in Duboistown to a reported vehicle accident with injuries.  The crash occurred in the 2300 block of Riverside Drive, and when crew arrived, they found that there were multiple injuries.  The roadway was shut down at Euclid Avenue while crews worked at the scene. No word on who the persons involved were or the extent of their injuries.  No other information was available. 

BURGLARY INVESTIGATION

State police in Milton are investigating the burglary of almost $10,000 worth of tools from a Northumberland County residence.  Police say sometime overnight June 15th into the 16th, someone entered a barn along Route 405 at the Delaware Township residence of 41 year old Christopher Nicholas and took several tools, a jack stand and gas can and then fled.  Total loss was more than $9800 dollars worth of items and police say their investigation is ongoing.