DCED to consider Shamokin's Act 47 request
SHAMOKIN - A public presentation on Shamokin's potential entry into a state program for financially distressed municipalities will be held at 5 p.m. June 4 at city hall.
Representatives of the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will review a consultative report prepared on behalf of the city. It's largely a more detailed historical financial overview compared to an Early Intervention Plan that had been prepared for Shamokin by a financial adviser.
There are 20 municipalities currently enrolled in Act 47; nine have been in the program for more than two decades.
The City of Reading is an Act 47 municipality. A comprehensive plan prepared in 2009 for that city by the Governor's Center for Local Government Services details current and projected finances, tax and revenue trends and pension obligations.
Acceptance into the state's Act 47 program could bring Shamokin an interest-free loan to pay more than $811,000 in outstanding bills that went unpaid in 2013. It would also, in theory, prevent a projected cash shortage in August and year-end deficit of $350,000.
The city would also be under increased scrutiny from the state on spending, staffing and union contracts with city employees, all of which would be expected to be addressed by city council toward eliminating a string of annual budget deficits.
Shamokin meets five criteria for Act 47: at least three consecutive budget deficits, spending exceeds revenue, a deficit equal to at least 5 percent of municipal revenue for consecutive years, failure to meet its annual pension payment and a maxed-out real estate tax levy.
City council voted April 28 to apply for entry into the program. An application has since been hand-delivered to DCED.
A DCED official previously said a decision on Shamokin's application from DCED Secretary C. Alan Walker would come within two weeks after the consultative report is submitted. A June 1 entry date had been targeted by city and state officials.