Coverage available for utility lines in city

LOCK HAVEN — City residents will probably receive a mailing in the near future offering insurance for their water and sewer lateral lines.

If the mailing is from the NLC (National League of Cities) Service Line Warranty Program, it might be worth reading.

City Council voted on this particular warranty program Monday, allowing residents to participate if they choose to do so.

The city owns the main lines for both water and sewer, but the lateral lines for specific buildings are the property owner’s responsibility.

The NLC Service Line Warranty Program offers protection from unanticipated service line repair costs at roughly $5 per month per line, for either water or sewer. Both lines would be about $10 per month.

Coverage is for up to $8,500 per occurrence for external lines and up to $3,000 per incident for interior plumbing and drainage. This includes repair of clogged toilets, and coverage for broken or leaking water-supply, sewer, or drain lines under the slab or basement floor.

The program says it has no annual or lifetime limits, deductibles, service fees, forms or paperwork.

The NLC Service Line Warranty Program has more than 500 municipal partners in 36 states, and the Pennsylvania Municipal League has named it a preferred program partner.

The program will:

r Provide a repair hotline staffed all the time with live agents.

r Use only city-approved, insured, local contractors.

r Educate homeowners about their service line responsibilities.

r Offer affordable rates for residents.

r Increase citizen satisfaction.

r Do all this at no charge to the city and without using city staff time.

The program sends out mailings to encourage residents to sign up. It does not make marketing phone calls, and if the city believes the mailings are becoming too frequent, it can have the frequency cut back, City Manager Gregory J. Wilson reported.


Council Vice President Stephen L. Stevenson reported that he rode the bus recently around town to experience the new service. He rode two routes, he said, and observed a college student, a grandmother and grandson, and a resident of Jersey Shore taking advantage of the free rides.

He encouraged everyone to try it during the free-ride period, which ends March 10.

Also during this introductory period, riders may pull the chord to inform the driver they wish to get off, and the driver will do his best to stop wherever, and whenever, a customer wishes.

Stevenson also recommended getting a ride card to carry around and use on every bus ride. With the card, riders can earn rewards from businesses, he said.


It’s official — anyone caught urinating or defecating in public can be arrested under city ordinance.

City Council took its second of the required two votes Monday to add a local law to the books specifically prohibiting this behavior. This should help police officers make their cases against offenders.

Council also took the second vote on raising fees for false fire alarms. The fees have been increased for the first time in 28 years. Under the new fee schedule, the first two false alarms in a calendar year do not carry any penalty. After that, the penalty is $50 for the third false alarm, $100 for the fourth one, and $200 for the fifth one.

The purpose of fees is to give local businesses a pressing reason to get faulty alarm systems fixed.


Councilman Jonathan Bravard has not participated by phone in the past three meetings, although this method of participation and voting is allowed in Pennsylvania, endorsed by city council, and available at City Hall.

Councilman Douglas T. Byerly asked about it, saying he believes the constituents are not being served.

The situation also sets up the possibility of a tie vote, he said.

“It puts council in a position when one of our members can select to not attend,” he said.

Bravard has been unable to participate in meetings recently, Wilson reported. He was transferred from a health care facility in Williamsport to Hershey Medical Center, but his cell phone and any other personal communication device is still at the Williamsport facility, he said.

A council member generally holds the elected position until he resigns or is voted out, and there is no clause that allows his fellow council members to force him out for not attending.

Stevenson suggested they could pass an ordinance that affects a member’s pay when meetings are skipped. Although it would not apply to Bravard, since he is already on council, such an ordinance would apply to anyone elected in the future and would prevent such a situation from arising again, Stevenson said.

He recalled a time that a college student sat on council but did not attend for years. His pay went to charity, which is commendable, Stevenson said, but the absent member did nothing to earn it. It is not exactly stealing, but it is not right either, he said.

“I would resign, but that’s if it were me,” he said of Bravard’s situation.


The city is set to receive $9,650 in real estate transfer tax from the sale of a portion of Susquehanna Square to Geisinger Clinic. Geisinger reportedly wants to build medical offices there.

Advance Professional Cleaning Services was the lowest bidder and was hired to clean City Hall on a one-year contract for $17,820.

J.J. Peters Disposal Inc. was hired to provide garbage service for every trash can and Dumpster, except for those on the levee, for one year for $18,195. The contract may be renewed for the next two years, Wilson said.

The company also was hired for sewage sludge disposal from the treatment plant for $900.

J.J. Peters was the lowest bidder for both, Wilson said.

The Durty Dabbers were given permission to use the city watershed for their 28th annual Great Adventure Dual Sport Ride, set for June 2. They were again complimented for their diligence in leaving the watershed in good shape after their rides.

Stevenson encouraged everyone to sign up for emergency alerts through email or cell phone. The city offers this service, and now the county does too, he reported. To sign up for alerts, visit and click on codeRED Weather Warning Registration on the right. Don’t forget to visit as well. On the Lock Haven home page, scroll down, and click on Swift 911 Notification which can be found in the center of the page.

Bill Mincer, a citizen who regularly attends council meetings, said there was another suicide in town recently, and he invited council to attend the next meeting of Safe Haven, set for March 31 at 1 p.m. in Avenue 209 Coffeehouse. The Safe Haven organization focuses on mental illness awareness and suicide prevention. It also promotes the National Suicide Lifeline of 1-800-273-8255.

Byerly gave a shout-out to the Lock Haven University wrestlers, under Coach Scott Moore, for winning the university’s second-ever Eastern Wrestling League title. The first title was won in 1997, he said. Six wrestlers will now go to national competition in Cleveland, he reported.