Mayor Will Make W-B’s Case For Act 47 Status At Hearing Today
WILKES-BARRE — City officials are prepared to testify at a hearing this afternoon to determine if the state should consider the city financially distressed, according to a city official.
City Administrator Ted Wampole said Mayor Tony George will present the bulk of the testimony on the city’s behalf.
“He’ll be presenting the reasons we believe we qualify for and need to be under Act 47,” Wampole said.
Wampole said he might offer “a short statement to supplement what the mayor has to say.”
George sent a request to the state Department of Community and Economic Development on June 29 asking Secretary Dennis Davin to deem the city financially distressed as defined under the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act of 1987, commonly referred to as Act 47.
George cited a projected $3.5 million budget deficit next year as the major reason behind his request.
Act 47 allows distressed municipalities certain revenue-collection advantages other cities don’t have, such as increasing the local services tax — the $1 tax withheld weekly from people employed within city limits — and imposing an earned income tax on people who work in the city but reside outside its borders.
Wampole said anyone can offer testimony supporting or opposing distressed status for the city.
DCED Press Assistant Sarah DeSantis said Kim Bracey, executive director of the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services will be the hearing officer.
DeSantis said attendees will not have the opportunity to question anyone who testifies. The purpose of the hearing is solely to receive testimony.
The hearing is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in council chambers on the fourth floor of City Hall, 40 E. Market St., Wilkes-Barre.
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