Political powers argue over Harrisburg infrastructure - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

Political powers argue over Harrisburg infrastructure

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It sounds like Chicken Little. Instead of "the sky is falling," Harrisburg leaders warn, "The ground is crumbling." However, some political powers are screaming louder than others.

It's the same old hat politics, despite Patty Kim wearing a new one. The newly elected State Representative brought up Harrisburg's infrastructure situation during the biweekly fiscal recovery meeting.

"As you know, we have a serious problem with our infrastructure," said Kim.

That former city council woman's statement did not bode well for Mayor Linda Thompson.

"As I recalled when I sat on this council as public works chair, this was nothing new to this administration and prior administrations who had tremendous water breaks every winter. It is normal," said Thompson. "And we are responding to that normalness in a reactive and proactive way."

Just two months in to 2013, but the issue of the year has been the city's infrastructure. Ever since a massive sinkhole opened on New Year's Eve people have been talking about the aging pipes.

Once again the city's underground arteries grabbed attention when water main breaks led to Cameron Street sinking twice in one week.

On Monday the Harrisburg Authority discussed the dire need to address the city's infrastructure. On Wednesday morning, Mayor Thompson told Rep. Kim that a plan was in the works.

"If you saw on the news the other night, we laid out maps showing that we're going to digitize the system," Thompson said to Kim.

Kim responded, "I'm not going to get my information from the news on what you're doing."

As a key player to get state funds Kim felt it was necessary to have all parties involved, to be on the same page and develop a plan. During the meeting, Kim invited officials and the public to join a roundtable discussion following the fiscal recovery meeting.

"I won't be present," said Thompson. "I have a press conference today and other meetings right after this meeting. So I won't be participatory."

Thompson added she attempted to contact Kim prior to Wednesday's meeting but was unsuccessful.

State Senator for Dauphin County Rob Teplitz, state-appointed Receiver William Lynch, Patty Kim, The Harrisburg Authority Executive Director Shannon Williams, and a myriad of other powers and interested citizens sat down and discussed an initial plan of action.

Kim said all she wanted was a collective effort to fix what she once described as a "serious threat" to the people of Harrisburg. Kim added she wants to be privy to whatever the plan or planning process is.

"We need to get something done," said Kim. "We just can't keep reacting to these water main breaks. This is gonna happen more often than not. So, let's get a plan together. Let's get out limited resources so that we can be more proactive and tackle the issue."

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