As one ICA waits to dissolve another could be created
While legislation to dissolve Pittsburgh’s Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) has not been passed (it has been in a House committee since June), a bill related to Harrisburg’s distressed status has been amended to allow for the creation of a third ICA in Pennsylvania.
A blog last week examined proposed legislation that would allow the distressed City of Harrisburg to leave Act 47 status but still maintain tax rates that are only granted to municipalities during the time spent in Act 47. This week a major amendment was inserted into the bill that would create intergovernmental cooperation authorities for cities of the third class.
There are currently 53 cities in that class, but the amendment defines “city” so specifically on population range (48,000 to 55,000) and prior oversight (the third class city would had to have spent time in Act 47 and receivership) that Harrisburg would be the sole city covered by the statute.
The ICA board would be appointed in the same manner as in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (by the governor and legislative leaders). It would possess the same political and corporate powers along with specific powers to examine consolidation, tax-exempt property, debt and sale of city property, among other efficiency and money-saving measures. It would have its books examined in the same manner.
Once an intergovernmental cooperation agreement is signed between the city and the ICA the distressed status under Act 47 would be rescinded. That’s instead of 2021, as would occur under the three-year exit plan option. The ICA itself would be terminated on Dec. 31 of the fourth full calendar year following the approval of the intergovernmental cooperation agreement. The special taxes would be levied until this termination date.
In the relatively short time that the City of Harrisburg has been under the watchful eye of the state, it has been under the guidance of, first, a receiver and, second, an Act 47 coordinator. The next step could be an ICA.