In case you missed it: this week’s good reads about Pennsylvania cities

    Is it Friday already? It’s time for our weekly roundup of city-related reads you may have missed.

    Is it Friday already? 

    It’s time for our weekly roundup of city-related reads you may have missed (you know, if you need a break from obsessing over llamas and the white-gold/blue-black dress).

    Capitol recap

    Have you ever griped about Harrisburg parking? (I have.) The good news is parking officials are promising reduced rates. We take a look at what Harrisburg’s parking situation means for the rest of the state.


    Next City takes a look at what cities should know about the FCC’s broadband vote.

    To some, access to internet might as well be on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. But should it also be a city service? Lancaster thinks so. The city is poised to be the first in Pa. to offer citywide public wifi (thereby cementing its position as Pa.’s “digital capital”).

    Investigating pensions

    Scranton’s been under scrutiny recently–14 municipal employees have been drawing a double pension (costing the city almost a million dollars), even though they may not actually qualify. State Auditor Eugene DePasquale announced his office is launching an investigation.

    Water, water everywhere

    A water main burst in Bradford, draining water reserves and leaving around 18,000 residents without water. While city tanks are slowly refilling, an official said the city is “by no means out of the woods.” (The Bradford Era)

    Money matters

    Revitalization, with a twist: NIZ and CRIZ guidelines give improvement zones access to alcohol tax money that formerly went to the state. (Can’t remember what NIZs and CRIZs are? We explain here.)

    The Morning Call mapped out the median income in eastern Pa. towns. Reading, Mahanoy City, and Shenandoah have the lowest median household income. Upper and Lower Makesfield and Worcester townships have the highest.

    Gov. Tom Wolf shared details of his budget proposal. He wants to prioritize cutting business taxes and increasing manufacturing jobs and workforce training. (The Express-Times)  Wolf is scheduled to give his budget address on March 3rd at the Capitol.


    It’s not just water systems and parking meters that municipalities outsource to save money. Cumberland County is working on a deal that would turn over its rideshare program to York’s public transit operator. (Penn Live)


    Here’s the latest update regarding the gun law lawsuits taking aim at Pa. municipal ordinances: a judge decided some of Harrisburg’s gun laws should not be enforced. (Newsworks)

    A trade for trade school? A local union in Braddock has a new “Guns for Opportunity” program—turn in a firearm and get full training in a welding program in return. (WESA)

    Jobs and business

    There’s a new initiative in Philly that puts young people to work as Community Connectors. Their job? To serve as a bridge between development organizations and community members. (Keystone Edge)

    In light of Florida Governor Rick Scott’s recent “headhunting” visit, how does Pennsylvania stack up compared to Florida? We take a look at Pennsylvania’s business climate. (No need to compare with Florida’s wintertime climate.)

    City Lab says young people are bringing jobs back to cities (but there are caveats). 

    What do you think?

    We want to know what you think your city should do with its waterfront.

    And our colleagues at WHYY’s The Pulse are requesting input about your healthcare costs, with the goal of making medical prices more transparent.

    (Also: here’s a project that asks Londoners their story–and broadcasts their answers on billboards. It’s… quite emotional. via City Lab)

    The end of an era

    The finale of TV show “Parks and Recreation” aired this week. (I, for one, am crushed.)

    Just for fun, here’s one clip that’s right in our wheelhouse: public radio and municipal mergers.

    We’ll leave you with a quote from Leslie Knope (the show’s heroine played by Amy Poehler):

    “When we worked here together, we fought, scratched, and clawed to make people’s lives a tiny bit better. That’s what public service is all about. Small, incremental change every day.”

    May we all share Knope’s optimism about local government.

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