PITTSBURGH, PA (February 12, 2018) Governor Tom Wolf, Mayor William Peduto and Secretary of the Department of Community Development Dennis Davin today signed documents officially taking the City of Pittsburgh out of Act 47 distressed municipality status.
The City agreed to Act 47 oversight – which led to controls on spending, increased taxes and adoption of fiscal reforms – in 2004. It renewed that status in 2009 and again in 2014.
Today the Governor, Mayor and Secretary signed formal determination letters terminating Pittsburgh's distressed status.
“This turnaround wasn’t easy – it took a lot of hard work, a lot of collaboration, and yes, some constructive arguments about where the city was headed, but in the face of it all, Pittsburgh stood united – desperately working to improve its stability and its financial health,” said Governor Wolf. “Pittsburgh’s recovery has captured the attention of the nation, and, frankly, the world. We’ve transformed a rust belt city that was a symbol of economic decline into one of the most dynamic examples of innovation for the new economy in the world. My administration has been proud to support your efforts and will continue to do so in the years ahead.”
With the city facing deep service cuts, layoffs and possible bankruptcy, then-Councilman Peduto was the first member of Pittsburgh city government to call on the city to enter Act 47 protection. In his budget address in November of last year Mayor Peduto announced that the time was right to finally end the state oversight.
"I want to thank city residents and workers for all their patience and sacrifices the past 14 years," Mayor Peduto said. "Act 47 was the tool we needed to bring our financial house in order and pave the way for Pittsburgh's economic resurgence. Now our challenge is to continue building upon the fiscal discipline it taught us and not revert to the poor budget habits of our past."
When making his Act 47 announcement in November the Mayor introduced legislation to Council to cement that fiscal discipline by adopting caps on pension enhancements and standards regarding debt service; retiring unspent capital funds; and maintaining a healthy fund balance.
In addition to the city workers impacted by Act 47, Mayor Peduto thanked the many officials who worked on the city's recovery from the administrations of Mayors Tom Murphy, Bob O'Connor and Luke Ravenstahl; his Chief Financial Officer Sam Ashbaugh; Office of Management and Budget Director Jennifer Prescuitti; his former Finance Director Paul Leger and current Director Margaret Lanier; City Controller Michael Lamb; City Council Budget Director Bill Urbanic; and the city's longtime Act 47 coordinators at Public Financial Management and Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellot.
Mayor Peduto especially thanks the four then-Councilmembers who joined him in approving the first Act 47 plan and having the courage to vote for Pittsburgh's future: Alan Hertzberg, President Gene Ricciardi, Doug Shields and Sala Udin.
A copy of the DCED Act 47 Rescission Report and Hearing Report released today is available here.