Pa. moves closer to takeover of Harrisburg

    Pennsylvania’s takeover of its capital city could happen within weeks.

    Architects of an amendment to the state’s recovery program for financially troubled cities say it doesn’t single out Harrisburg. For now, though, Harrisburg is the only place that fits the description of a city that’s requested state help with its finances under the Act 47 program and then rejected all recovery plans.

    Republican Sen. Jeffrey Piccola of Dauphin County said the city’s failure to act has forced it to borrow more money to cover operating expenses.

    “We’ve moved beyond just implementing an Act 47 plan in a nice, timely, and productive way. We are now at the point of fiscal emergency,” Piccola said Tuesday.

    The measure, which the state House is expected to approve Wednesday, would give the governor emergency powers to control vital city services and allow a court-approved receiver to draft and implement a fiscal recovery plan.

    Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson said she’s giving her city council one last chance to adopt a plan before the takeover bill is made law.

    Piccola says the Senate could take a final vote on the bill in mid-October.

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