Municipality Ready to Leave Act 47?

Municipality Ready to Leave Act 47?

Altoona (Blair County) is awaiting word from state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) as to whether it can exit Act 47 distressed status.  The City was placed under the fiscal distressed statute’s guidelines in May of 2012, about two years prior to the state’s overhaul of portions of the Act.  Three municipalities have entered Act 47 status since Altoona in 2012, and six have exited since that year.

In the 2012 recovery plan for the City of Altoona the reasons for the City’s economic and fiscal problems were twofold: the national recession that exacerbated the City’s loss of population and tax base and increases to City employee retirement benefits.  The City met three criteria under Act 47 in order to receive a declaration of financial distress.  At the conclusion of identifying problems with the City’s finances, the report noted “…Altoona’s elected and appointed officials recognize the need for immediate action and are open to cooperation amongst themselves and with other governmental entities to implement initiatives that result in cost savings and improved efficiencies for the City and its residents.”

One of those elected officials, the Mayor, noted “the last thing we want to do is end up back in Act 47 again”.   If the sentiments of the initial recovery plan on cooperation and a drive to find efficiencies are correct, then the City probably won’t be back there.