WILKES-BARRE — The state agency considering the city’s request to declare it a distressed municipality under Act 47 and oversight to get back on sound financial footing scheduled a public hearing next month.
The state Department of Economic and Community Development will hold the hearing at 5 p.m. on Aug. 1 at City Hall in the council’s chambers.
Last month Mayor Tony George sent a petition to DCED asking for assistance under Act 47. The city faces an estimated $3.5 million deficit next year that grows in the following years, after unsuccessful attempts by his administration to stabilize Wilkes-Barre’s finances under the state’s Early Intervention Program, George said.
Multi-year deficits are among the criteria used by DCED when considering whether to declare a municipality distressed. The agency also can conduct an investigation and public hearing as part of the declaration process.
If the DCED approves the petition it can appoint a coordinator to assess the city’s finances and propose a plan of recovery of five years. The state also has the authority to approve an exit plan that can last three years.
Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.