ALTOONA, PA – An Act 47 financial recovery plan for the City of Altoona, Pa., recommends 150 initiatives for changes to city government, including a consolidation of municipal fleet maintenance with the Altoona Area School District, Altoona Water Authority, Blair County, and other local governments. According to the report, this would reduce costs and duplication of facilities and equipment.
Pennsylvania’s Act 47 allows the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to declare certain municipalities as financially distressed and provides for the restructuring of debt of financially distressed municipalities. The City of Harrisburg filed for Recovery Act 47 in 2011.
The financial recovery plan addresses Altoona's structural deficit that has steadily increased over the past several years. The report states that the City’s financial situation is due to lack of growth in government revenues due to the national recession and a declining tax base, and unsustainable increases in City employee benefits. Among the 155 recommends are suggestions to increase the earned income tax rate, real estate tax rate, and license and permit fees; a wage freeze for employees; and a decrease in paid holidays and personal, vacation, and sick leave.
The law firm of Stevens & Lee was hired to develop and implement Altoona's Act 47 recovery plan. A public comment period will run until Nov. 28. The coordinator may revise the plan based on any public comments received. Altoona City Council is scheduled to adopt the coordinator's plan on Dec. 19, according to a release from the DCED.
View a PDF of the full Altoona Financial Recovery Plan.