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Johnstown Council to vote on Act 47 Plan

By Melanie Gillespie


JOHNSTOWN, Pa. --

There are problems still plaguing the city of Johnstown. It will remain in an Act 47 municipality despite it ending in the black this year.

There are obvious problems that the city has struggled with in the past 20 years.
This comes as its sixth amendment plan and officials said, while the city is sustaining, theres still a tough road ahead.

In just a few weeks, Johnstown City Council will vote on an amendment plan for its Act 47 recovery.

Johnstowns Act 47 Coordinator Jim Roberts said, "Things change. Johnstown's been in the program for many years, so we're now working on the sixth amended recovery plan to carry the city three more years out into the future."

Despite it ending in the black for the first time since 2008, the "financially distressed" status won't be fading away anytime soon.
Real estate taxes and population decline are some of the most problematic projections for the city, according to Roberts.
"Because those obligations keep going up and revenues don't always go up as fast as expenditures do."

Unions and public safety pension plans are another top concern.
"They're all underfunded. We hope to figure out a way to get those funding levels up If they're on the verge of failing, its the responsibility of city council and tax payers to make up that obligation, Roberts said.

The city won't be out of the act 47 umbrella until the books are balanced, but Roberts said it has made progress.

Roberts doesnt foresee any layoffs in the upcoming plan.
It should be voted on by the end of October.

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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