River Bridge

The Columbia-Wrightsville bridge over the Susquehanna River in Columbia.

Wrightsville Borough Council President Eric J. White stopped the April 5 council meeting and called 911 after a resident interrupted a discussion of a resolution pressuring the local municipal authority to sell the water and sewer systems to a private company.

White banged his gavel several times and told Mel McDonald that she was not allowed to comment on the matter. Public comment was held at the beginning of the meeting, at which time McDonald was the sole resident to offer any.

McDonald, wife of council member Rick McDonald, who has attended meetings via conference call during the pandemic, refused to leave voluntarily even after Vice President Frederick C. Smith Jr. asked her politely.

She said nothing during the 10 minutes it took for a Hellam Township police officer to arrive. The officer escorted her from council chambers without incident.

Council approved the resolution 3-2, with Smith and Rick McDonald opposed. Council member Larry Kirkessner was absent.

The resolution strongly encourages the Wrightsville Municipal Authority to sell the water and sewer system that serves the borough. That matter has been a topic of discussion for several years, especially since White campaigned on lowering water and sewer bills for residents.

“Every month that goes by is one more month of people paying more than they need to pay,” White said.

But the resolution didn’t sit well with Smith, who is also chairman of the Wrightsville Municipal Authority, because it says the authority “would do a disservice to its ratepayers and the citizens of Wrightsville if it failed to fully explore the possibilities for selling the water and sewer systems.”

White said he has attended Wrightsville Municipal Authority meetings and asked authority board members about their thoughts on selling the assets. Even after reviewing the results of a study about selling the assets, he said, it was like “deer in headlights” and no authority board members offered any suggestions.

“Do you have a plan?” White asked. “If you have a plan, we’ll listen.”

What to Read Next