TAX INCREASE APPROVED ON FIRST READING

A 7-0 vote on first reading puts city of Williamsport property owners another step closer to a tax increase for 2017.  City council cast that vote during their meeting last night on Mayor Campana’s $25.4 million dollar budget.  No major changes were made, and if stands next Thursday when council takes a final vote, the tax increase of .25 mills will stand for property owners. That will mean an extra $25 dollars for owners of properties worth $100,000 dollars.  City officials say an increase in health care costs has contributed to the higher tax rates.  Campana had originally proposed a .35 mills tax hike, but more revenue was found to lower it...

COUNTY STILL FACES DEFICIT

Most of yesterday’s Lycoming County Commissioners meeting was dominated by budget talk.  Commissioners are still trying to find ways to cut into a $9.6 million dollar budget and had postponed a vote to next Thursday.  Commissioner Rick Mirabito would like to see the county’s GEO Reentry Center which is used for day reporting and a therapy program for eligible offenders in the judicial system cut.  Commissioner Tony Mussare saying the program is a beneficial and necessary program.  Planned county projects in 2017 could be nixed as well as any extra hiring in county government.  Commissioners are stopping shot of instituting a tax increase and say the rest of the deficit would be covered by the county’s fund balance.

LOCKDOWN ORDERED FOR AREA SCHOOLS

The Shikellamy High School and Grace Beck Elementary School in Sunbury were placed on lockdown yesterday afternoon.  Police in Sunbury got reports of a man dressed in camouflage gear and carrying a rifle, walking down the railroad tracks near the high school around 2:15pm, causing school officials to place the buildings on a lockdown.  Police were stationed around the high school, the lockdown was lifted after about 15 minutes and students were dismissed on time.  That person was not found, and the investigation continues.

LARGE AMOUNT OF POT FOUND

A routine traffic stop on I-80 in Montour County on Wednesday turned into a find of a large amount of marijuana.  Police pulled over a vehicle a little after noon in Valley Township for driving illegally in the passing lane.  Noticing now nervous the driver, Vagram Sarkisyan of Woodside New York was, a drug sniffing dog and extra troopers were called in.  That is when police found 67 pounds of marijuana, worth anywhere from $201,000 to $402,000 dollars in vacuum sealed bags packed in suitcases.  Sarkisyan and his brother from California were arraigned on several counts and jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail each.

RUNWAY PROJECT BIDS ACCEPTED

A project to improve the runway approaches at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville will begin soon.  The Municipal Airport Authority yesterday approved two contracts for $334,900 and for a little over $183,000 for two companies to improve the runway approaches which will allow for the safety of incoming aircraft, allowing them to approach the runways at a lower altitude. The work will be completed sometime in the fall. Meanwhile the airport moves closer to its terminal projects. Bidding will begin in January with construction possibly beginning in March.

ANIMAL CREULTY ALLEGED

State police in Bloomsburg say that an investigation has been turned over to them, in which animal cruelty laws may have been violated.  Police say that two dogs at a licensed boarding kennel in Benton Township, Columbia County escaped from a play yard on November 25th. On the 28th a hunter called the PA Game Commission to report that he had shot two dogs that were chasing deer.  Following an investigation, the game commission was concerned that the cruelty laws had been violated and state police are now investigating.  No names have been released.

TWO INJURED IN ROUTE 15 CRASH

A two vehicle crash on Route 15 in Clinton Township yesterday sent both drivers to the hospital for treatment. The crash occurred in front of the White Deer Motel around 2:30.  A car and pickup truck collided with the truck overturning.  Both the male truck driver and the female in the car were transported to Williamsport Regional Medical Center. Their names and conditions were not released following that Clinton Township crash.

JOINT CASEWORK DAY

Residents in the Williamsport area who may need help with issues which involved the state or federal governments can get that help with one stop today.  Frank Mazza who is regional manager for U.S. Senator Pat Toomey will join State Representative Jeff Wheeland’s staff today at Wheeland’s office at 349 Pine Street in Williamsport for a Joint federal and state casework day from 10am till 2pm.  Residents are urged to bring along copies of federal and state documents related to their issues. In order to help them get a resolution to their concerns. 

MORE LANE RESTRICTIONS TODAY

More lane restrictions on Route 220 in both Woodward and Piatt Townships today.  A contractor will close the right driving lane between 7am and 3pm today so fiber optic cable can be installed on utility poles along the roadway.  Work will take place first on Route 220 southbound from Spook Hollow Road to Route 287.  Once that is done, work will take place along Route 220 northbound starting south of the railroad bridge to Route 287 and then from Level Corners Road to Young’s Road.  Motorists should be alert and drive with caution through the work zone.

ANOTHER OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULED

The state’s Rapid Bridge Replacement program will see two more bridges replaced in Lycoming County next year which will mean traffic impacts.  Those bridges are along Dark Hollow Road spanning Big Run, a mile north of Lairdsville and on Green Valley Road Spanning Sugary run 3 miles east of Hughesville.  An open house will be held on Wednesday December 21st from 4 to 5:30pm at the Hughesville Public Library for the community to find out about the construction schedule and any traffic changes which may take place due to the bridge construction.  Officials will be on hand to discuss the projects and answer questions.