Governor Wolf Announces Clairton is Ready to Terminate Distressed Status Becoming the Second City to Exit Act 47
Author: Dan Carrigan
Clairton, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the City of Clairton’s status as a distressed municipality under Act 47 is terminated. Clairton is the first city in Allegheny County and eleventh municipality to exit the program.
“This is an exciting day for the leaders and residents of Clairton to recognize the positive steps taken,” said Governor Wolf. “Today is the culmination of decades of hard work by Clairton’s leaders and citizens who all understood that the road to financial solvency often takes time, teamwork, and the ability to make tough decisions.”
“As the second city in the state and first in Allegheny County to exit Act 47, Clairton should be commended for today’s achievement,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin. “Under the leadership of Governor Wolf we will continue to build strong, stable communities all across Pennsylvania.”
Davin issued a determination letter at the Clairton’s City Council chambers today, finding that termination of the city’s distressed status was appropriate under Section 255.1 of Act 47. Davin made the decision after a thorough review of the city’s audits and financial data and the record from a public hearing held on Oct. 6, 2015.
“The honesty, hard work, and willingness to follow the recovery plan has transformed Clairton into a city that is on the rise and proud of the results,” said Mayor Richard Lattanzi. “The future is bright as long as we manage the city in a professional manner and always put Clairton and its people first. Congratulations to all for achieving a goal that at one time looked impossible.”
The Hearing Officer’s report indicated the city is demonstrating sound financial management practices, is on stable financial footing and that all operating fund deficits have been eliminated. The Hearing Officer also determined that the city now has the tools to make the decisions necessary to maintain responsible budgets, meet its obligations to vendors and creditors and provide essential services to city residents.
The City of Clairton was designated as distressed under Act 47 on January 19, 1988. This determination was made after the city missed its payroll for 30 days, experienced a decrease in the quantified level of municipal service from the preceding fiscal year which resulted from the municipality reaching its legal limit in levying real estate taxes for general purposes, tax base erosion, reduction in municipal services, pension liabilities, recurring budget deficits and deteriorating demographic and socio-economic conditions.
The city, working with the Act 47 Plan Coordinator and DCED, developed its original Recovery Plan in 1988. The plan and several updates were designed to stabilize the city’s finances and operations. Along with many other components, the Plan also built managerial and administrative capacity, restored the city’s tax base, instituted improvements in the financial management and service delivery system to restore fiscal integrity and reestablished the local police department.
The Municipalities Financial Recovery Act, Act 47 of 1987, was enacted to provide a broad-based program of fiscal management oversight, technical assistance, planning and financial aid to municipalities experiencing severe fiscal distress. The legislation was signed in Clairton by Governor Robert Casey, Sr., and the city entered the program several months later.
For more information on Act 47 or the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services visit www.newpa.com.
Jeff Sheridan, Governor’s Press Office – 717-783-1116
Dan Carrigan, Department of Community and Economic Development – 717-783-1132
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