2012-03-01 / Local & State

City Council To Seek Distressed Status For Altoona

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) – Altoona may be the next municipality to seek help from the Pennsylvania state government in dealing with its fiscal problems.

The Altoona Mirror reported Thursday that the city council voted unanimously Wednesday to petition for entry into the state’s Financially Distressed Municipalities program.

Councilman Mark Geis says the council must take steps to confront a $1.6 million budget shortfall that will exhaust the city's reserves by the end of the year.

Twenty other municipalities are already in the program, including Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Scranton, Johnstown and Reading.

If Altoona is accepted, a state coordinator would be hired to work with local officials to develop a three-year financial recovery plan. It also could empower the city to raise taxes beyond normal limits and provide access to loans and grants.

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