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Altoona, PA may sell water system

By William Kibler

The mere proposal to sell the city's water and sewer systems could be Altoona's ticket to financial relief, a former city mayor hopes.

Actually, selling the systems could mean a billion-dollar payday that in trust could earn $50 million per year - long-term security for the city but higher rates without government windfall for residents of outlying municipalities, Allan Hancock told the city's privatization task force Thursday.

Agreeing not to sell, however, could give Altoona leverage to nudge those municipalities toward the kind of deep cooperation the city needs to shrink its service responsibilities, such as fire, police, code enforcement and street maintenance, Hancock and task force members agreed.