Harrisburg (Dauphin County) -—The city of Harrisburg is waiting for the stroke of the Governor’s pen before it falls into the hands of a state receiver
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1151 paving the way for a state takeover to help the debt ridden city.
Over the past several years, the capital city has generated a mounting sum of debt that now equals 310 million dollars.
Rep. Glen Grell of Cumberland County, said, “It’s a necessary but unfortunate.”
Wednesday’s vote passed by a wide margin,” It’s a milestone,” added Grell.
Representative Eugene Depasquale of York County was one of only 18 members to vote against it.
“We need to find a better way for third class cities to govern themselves instead of having to go through this each time,” said Depasquale.
Grell said, “Residents in this city should be reassured of the actions we have taken.”
Prior to Wednesday’s vote, Harrisburg City Council did strike down two previous Act 47 plans –
However, the bill that passed on Wednesday now makes it illegal to impose a commuter tax – and gives city officials a 30 day window to draft their own financial plan before the state steps in.
Representative Chris Ross of Chester County, said,” The city council and mayor will continue to operate as they normally do under all matters that are not essential to protect the future fiscal health of the city.”
A state appointed receiver would run the financial operations. Ross added,” We have to recognize the continuing deterioration of the financial situation of the city poses a direct threat to the safety of the health and citizens of Harrisburg.”
Meanwhile in a written statement by a majority of Harrisburg’s City Council, several members blasted the bill and are urging the Governor not to sign the legislation due to the city’s pending bankruptcy.