Broke Shamokin, Pa., Seeks State Crutch That Few Cast Off

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northumberlan...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northumberland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Reuters) – Shamokin, Pennsylvania, tucked away in the coal country about 120 miles northwest of Philadelphia, has $800,000 of unpaid bills and can’t get a loan from a bank. It’s so broke, the gas service to city hall was temporarily cut off last month.

So the council for the city of 7,000 residents has agreed to seek entry to a state financial oversight program dating from 1987 that facilitates access to credit and permits the levying of certain taxes. Now, though, some lawmakers say the program is more like a trap than a benefit: municipalities get into it, and few get out.

Just seven of the 27 local governments to enter state oversight under the program, known as Act 47, have ever been released from it. As a result, legislators want to cap how long cities can stay under state oversight and, in the hardest cases, impose a municipal death penalty that amounts to disincorporation and a state takeover. The law was passed in a bid to help Pennsylvania cities battered by the decline of the American steel industry in the 1970s and ’80s.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Broke_Shamokin_Pa_seeks_state_crutch_that_few_cast_off.html#CTx13mYx3Q210qd0.99

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PA Attorney General Charges 16 In Drug Ring

HARRISBURG, PA — A Luzerne County man was charged Thursday in connection with a drug trafficking ring being prosecuted by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office.

A grand jury determined evidence is sufficient to charge Darryl Elliot, 27, of South Grant Street, Wilkes-Barre, and 15 others with drug trafficking and conspiracy.

Of those charged, Juan Carlos Alvarez, was already serving time in Lackawanna County Correctional Facility. The grand jury found Alvarez supplied other suspects with drugs from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico to be distributed in New York City and Pennsylvania. Thirteen suspects are from Northumberland County.

Prosecutors do not know where one suspect, Joseph Galgocy, is from, according to a press release from the Attorney General’s Office.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/845389/AG-charges-16-in-drug-ring