Freeman legislation to aid distressed municipalities passes House

HARRISBURG, Sept. 15 -- Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, that would aid distressed municipalities in the Act 47 program struggling to achieve recovery objectives passed the House chamber today and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

“When the governor signed the disaster declaration in March in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it presented an immediate economic impact on the fiscal operating budgets of municipalities throughout the Commonwealth,” Freeman said. “For those municipalities that are considered distressed, those economic impacts were even more frustrating and detrimental.

House Bill 2548 would aid in extending recovery plan deadlines in consideration of the ongoing pandemic crisis, and better position a distressed municipality to meet recovery plan deadlines,” Freeman said.

According to Freeman, there are currently 16 distressed municipalities in the Act 47 program. His legislation would allow any distressed municipality to extend its recovery plan by 18 months.

The legislation also includes a retroactivity provision clarifying that a municipality that relied on the Fiscal Code provision to extend its exit plan prior to the enactment of this bill would be covered by the clarification.