SHAMOKIN - The City of Shamokin will ask a county judge to approve city council's pursuit of an $800,000 loan to cover unpaid bills.

A petition to be filed today in Northumberland County Court says the loan is needed to cover "an unforeseeable shortfall in municipal revenues and unanticipated expenses resulting in unpaid current year bills of $800,000."

Paying the bills by "curtailing municipal services will be dangerous to public health and safety and that it is not feasible to levy additional taxes in the current fiscal year," the petition states.

City solicitor Robert H. Mattis is seeking to have the hearing scheduled as early as next week, allowing city council to potentially close on a loan before the new year. Of course, it all depends on whether or not a judge signs off on the emergency financing.

The 10-year loan for unfunded debt due to a shortage of cash is one of several recommendations from Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) as part of the city's enrollment in the state's Early Intervention Program for financially troubled municipalities.

A second hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at which Mattis will ask that real estate taxes be assessed at 30 mills, 5 mills higher than the maximum allowed by law. If successful, it would be the sixth consecutive year the court allowed the increase.

Should a hearing on the debt not be scheduled in the coming days, Mattis expects it would also be held Dec. 19. That would likely push back a hypothetical closing date and the money would be unavailable until January.

City council held separate votes to file both petitions.