State Sen. Judy Schwank voted in favor of House Bill 1773, a proposal that would make comprehensive changes to Act 47, the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act, on Wednesday.
Act 47 is designed to assist financially troubled municipalities by empowering the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to declare them financially distressed. The status then provides for the implementation of various measures aimed at helping them recover.
The changes proposed in HB 1773 would limit the amount of time that municipalities can participate in the program to five years. HB 1773 also gives the Department of Community and Economic Development more authority to enforce a recovery plan.
"I voted to make comprehensive changes to Act 47 because I don't want Reading to be stuck in an otherwise positive program for decades, as have some other communities," Schwank said. "Reading has a recovery plan, thanks to Act 47. If it continues to follow the prescription, it should be well on its way to a brighter economic future. While I am confident it will enjoy better times, we must make sure the city -- or any local municipality -- has the tools it needs to get back to self-sufficiency in a reasonable period of time."
HB 1773 does allow for one three-year extension after the initial program expires.