Act 47 Cities Elect New Mayors Amid Changes

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG – New mayors have been elected in four large cities under Act 47 status just as lawmakers are giving greater attention to urban fiscal issues.

Election Day brought victories to Democrat Bill Courtright in Scranton, Democrat Bill Peduto in Pittsburgh, Democrat Eric Papenfuse in Harrisburg and Republican Matt Pacifico in Altoona.

The mayors-elect came to office by various routes and campaigned on issues specific to their cities, but once in office they will face common problems with a shrinking tax base, greater demand for municipal services and the skyrocketing cost of unfunded pension obligations for municipal employees.

It could help matters that new elected spokesmen for cities will be on the scene while state lawmakers consider a wave of legislation to help municipalities address financial problems.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/act-47-cities-elect-new-mayors-amid-changes-1.1582982

Pennsylvania Third-Class Cities’ Problems, Solutions May Be Addressed

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All 53 of Pennsylvania’s third-class cities share common bonds, and one state senator believes legislators who represent those cities should band together to help address their common challenges.

“Sprawl, changing demographics, public safety concerns and archaic tax structure have drained the vitality of our once-vibrant downtowns,” state Sen. John N. Wozniak, D-Johnstown, wrote in a letter to his colleagues.  “Since the causes are not unique, we can’t stand by and ask local government officials to stem a tide that is overwhelming their capacity and authority to innovate.”

Wozniak noted in the letter to colleagues from both parties in the Senate and House that while the state’s historic downtowns are unique, the fiscal problems they face are not.  With that in mind, Wozniak is proposing the creation of a bipartisan “Third-Class City Caucus.”

“We can no longer afford to consider the plight of our cities as a concern that is separate from the overall welfare of our Commonwealth,” he said.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/stories/Third-class-cities-problems-solutions-may-be-addressed,256451