In response to the long-awaited Act 47 plan for the City of Harrisburg, Sen. Jeffrey E. Piccola (R-Dauphin) introduced today legislation that would create a management board for distressed cities of the third class failing to adopt or implement the Act 47 coordinator's plan.
Sen. Piccola was joined by 12 cosponsors to his legislation including: Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi and Senators Earll, Vance, Folmer, Gordner, Waugh, Alloway, Baker, Erickson, Orie, Browne, and Tomlinson.
Under Senate Bill 1151 (not yet online), a management board would be established in the event a distressed third class city fails to adopt or implement the coordinator's plan under Act 47.
The management board would consist of three persons; two members appointed by the Governor and one appointed by the county commissioners of the affected city. The management board would work to implement the coordinator plan, negotiate intergovernmental cooperative agreements, and have the authority to direct the sale of assets. The legislation would also prohibit any distressed city that falls under this designation from filing for bankruptcy.
"It is clear from their public comments and reactions to the Act 47 plan that virtually every municipal official elected in the City of Harrisburg has taken an irresponsible position concerning the city's fiscal mess. These individuals are looking for bail-outs, which should not be considered," Sen. Piccola said. "Act 47 needs teeth and Senate Bill 1151 will provide those teeth not only to Harrisburg, but all current and future Act 47 cities across Pennsylvania."
"Despite what some critics have suggested, this bill does not 'overreach.' The egregious spending and fiscal irresponsibility of Harrisburg's elected municipal officials has been far more overreaching throughout the years," he added. "No doubt, certain elected officials lack the courage to be leaders in this crisis; therefore, I am given no choice but to exercise leadership and responsibility on behalf of my constituency, not only in Harrisburg but throughout the region."
Senate Bill 1151 will be referred to the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee.