Act 47

Essential Pittsburgh
1:31 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

How Pittsburgh Plans to Get Out of Act 47 in 5 Years

Kevin Acklin, the mayor's Chief of Staff and Chief Development Officer, believes the collaboration between Mayor Peduto and City Council is key to the success of Pittsburgh.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

On Tuesday, with a 7-2 vote, the Pittsburgh City Council approved Mayor Bill Peduto's Act 47 recovery plan. The five-year plan includes recommendations for a possible property tax increase and bond issues to improve deteriorating infrastructure.

Kevin Acklin, the mayor's Chief of Staff and Chief Development Officer explained how the City plan is different from past plans.

Read more
City Government
3:13 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

From Data Sharing To Street Paving, Council Proposes Amendments To Act 47 Recovery Plan

The city of Pittsburgh is one step closer to approving its third Act 47 Recovery Plan, after City Council on Wednesday presented and gave preliminary approval to 17 amendments.

“They don’t impact anything financial,” said council president Bruce Kraus. “They really are more philosophical in nature, more or less, about how we want to plan the next five years.”

Read more
City Government
11:28 am
Tue June 17, 2014

What Pittsburghers Need To Know About Act 47

Credit Illustration courtesy of Pittsburgh City Paper

What is Act 47?

Act 47 is a state oversight program for “financially distressed” cities in Pennsylvania. The state tries to help cities turn around their finances and operations. The name comes from the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act (Act 47 of 1987).

What’s the history of Act 47?

Pittsburgh has been “financially distressed” for 10 years. The plan that the mayor and city council are currently considering will guide the city from 2014 through 2018.
Who prepares the five-year plan on the state's behalf?

Read more
Government & Politics
3:51 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

City Council Hears From Public On Act 47 Amended Plan

Pittsburgh City Council members heard from the public Monday about the third amended recovery plan for the city.

Pittsburgh has been under financial oversight for a decade. The amended plan, aimed at getting the city out of Act 47 status and closer to financial solvency, sets novel goals: to reduce the city’s deficit and debt burden, maintain the fund balance at an appropriate level, increase pension contributions and spend more on capital construction.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:38 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Mayor Bill Peduto on Act 47 & Selecting a New Police Chief

Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Hear our full interview with Mayor Peduto: We discuss the selection process for a new Chief of Police, Act 47 oversight, Ride-Sharing laws, and the recent PA marriage ruling

In the past decade, Pittsburgh has accomplished much: East Liberty was revitalized, the river fronts were beautified, and it's received many accolades from the press, including the United States’ most liveable city. Through all of this, however, the city was in a precarious financial position.

For 10 years Pittsburgh has been under Act 47 oversight for distressed municipalities. For all its improvements, the city has yet to implement a comprehensive financial management system to address legacy costs of debt, pensions, post retirement benefits, workers compensation along with a financially viable long-term capital plan.

Mayor Bill Peduto asked Gov. Tom Corbett in January to keep Pittsburgh under Act 47 state oversight for financially distressed municipalities, saying that while city finances have improved, more economic reforms are needed.

Last week the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, one of two oversight boards for Pittsburgh, called for the city to reduce services by 20 percent. Peduto responded to this while explaining how difficult it has been to get the city’s finances in order.

Read more
Act 47
10:46 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Another PA City to be Declared "Distressed"

While City Council and Mayor Bill Peduto try to finalize a third, 5-year recovery plan for Pittsburgh under Act 47, the city of Shamokin in Northumberland County will soon become the 21st municipality in the commonwealth currently declared financially distressed.

"This is a financial mess," says Shamokin City Clerk Robert Slaby.

Read more
City Government
3:13 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

ICA Recommends Hefty Slash To City Budget; Peduto Pushes Back

Days after the Act 47 Recovery Coordinators submitted their 166-page plan to the city for review, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, or ICA, put in their two cents.

Read more
Government & Politics
5:23 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Pittsburgh Receives Latest Act 47 Recovery Plan

Pittsburgh’s Recovery Coordinators have submitted a new plan – the third since the city has been under distressed Act 47 oversight – to get the city into solvent financial shape.

In addition to eliminating operating deficits and reducing the city’s debt payments, the latest plan to get Pittsburgh out of commonwealth oversight focuses on beefing up the employee pension fund.

Read more
City Government
1:20 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Peduto: City's Financial Situation Is 'Grim But Solvable'

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto addressed City Council Tuesday morning while his policy manager Matt Barron looks on.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“It’s not going to be easy.”

That was Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s primary message to City Council and the public Tuesday morning, as he shared details of the Steel City’s dire financial situation and challenged his colleagues in city government to help find solutions.

The address coincides with Tuesday night’s public hearing on the city’s financially distressed status, an event organized by Act 47 coordinators.

Read more
Act 47 Overhaul
3:26 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Sen Teplitz: Get Out and Stay Out of Act 47

Act 47 was introduced by the Pennsylvania state legislature in 1987 as a means of helping financially distressed cities recover and avoid bankruptcy. 27 years later, several municipalities that were placed under Act 47 oversight have never rebounded.

State Senator Rob Teplitz (D – Dauphin) hopes stronger legislation would help these municipalities have their distressed status removed, while at the same time preventing other municipalities from entering Act 47.

Read more
Government & Politics
4:58 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Pittsburgh to Remain Under Act 47

PA Gov. Tom Corbett, with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto at his side, announces that Pittsburgh will remain under Act 47
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

With the thanks of Pittsburgh’s mayor, Gov. Tom Corbett Thursday announced that the city would remain under the controls of Act 47. 

Pittsburgh entered into distressed-city status 10 years ago, and the Ravenstahl administration had argued in 2012 that enough progress had been made to release the city from its bonds.

“While Pittsburgh continues to take considerable steps in its efforts in stabilizing the city’s financial position, many conditions that originally led to the distressed determination have not been alleviated,” Corbett said.

Read more
Government & Politics
5:09 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

ICA Approves City Budget Proposal Changes, Doles Out Gaming Funds to Pensions

The state board that oversees the city of Pittsburgh’s finances has given its approval to changes made to the proposed city budget by Mayor Bill Peduto.

The Peduto administration had until the end of March to present final changes to the budget but has done so early.

Read more
Government & Politics
3:15 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Pittsburgh Firefighter Union Asks Governor to Let City Leave Act 47 State Oversight

A week after Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto sent a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett asking that the city stay under Act 47 state oversight, the city’s firefighter’s union is asking the opposite.

“The Act 47 team wrote a letter to the governor saying, ‘We’ve exceeded all of our financial expectations by the plan.’ And as such they recommended that we go out of 47,” said union president Joe King.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
6:42 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Why Mayor Peduto Wants Act 47 to Stay, for Now

Bill Peduto is asking Governor Tom Corbett to keep Pittsburgh under Act 47 oversight until at least 2018.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

In 2003, the city of Pittsburgh was operating under a debt burden of more than 20% of its operating budget. Pools and recreation centers had to close and hundreds of city employees, including police officers were laid off.

Pittsburgh was declared financially distressed and placed under Act 47 oversight.

As the local economy has stabilized, former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, along with Act 47 coordinators have said the city is ready to be released. But Pittsburgh's new Mayor Bill Peduto is asking Governor Corbett to keep the city under Act 47 oversight to allow his administration to work on a final recovery plan.

Read more
Government & Politics
12:06 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Peduto to Gov. Corbett: Pittsburgh Should Remain Under Act 47 Oversight

Updated 3:53pm 1/8/2014

The City of Pittsburgh has been under Act 47 state oversight since 2003. Back then, Pittsburgh was operating with a debt burden of more than 20% of its operating budget, pools and recreation centers had to close and hundreds of city employees, including police officers, were laid off. In late 2007, former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl along with Act 47 coordinators said the city was ready to be released. Even at that time, then Councilman Bill Peduto said the city wasn’t ready.

Read more
Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Act 47 Task Force Expected to Recommend Legislation

A task force charged with revising the state's more than 25-year-old program for fiscally distressed municipalities is getting ready to recommend legislation.

The Act 47 program, established in 1987, was meant to take in cities that were on the brink of financial ruin. It has just shown to be not so adept at ushering stabilized cities out.

Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester) is co-chair of the panel suggesting changes. He said the group will likely recommend creating a deadline for Act 47 municipalities to leave the program.

Read more
Government & Politics
10:41 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Pew Report Examines Commonwealth's Act 47 Program

A new report points out to policy makers what some municipalities already know: Pennsylvania’s program for helping distressed cities has an unimpressive track record.

Called simply Act 47, the program has claimed 27 cities and towns, and only six have exited the program.

Kil Huh, an author of the Pew Charitable Trusts report, said when the state does step in, a plan for stepping back out should be outlined.

Read more