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Scranton leaves program for distressed cities after 30 years

The Oakland-Scranton "Unity" flag flies outside Scranton City Hall, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Scranton, Pa.
Mary Altaffer
Scranton City Hall.

State authorities say the northeastern Pennsylvania city of Scranton has been removed from a program for financially distressed municipalities after three decades.

The Department of Community and Economic Development said Tuesday that the decision was made after “a thorough review" of city audits and financial data as well as the record from a November public hearing. Secretary Dennis Davin credited “years of hard work and collaboration" on the part of residents, businesses and others.

Scranton was designated as distressed in 1992 under the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act or Act 47 following “years of recurring deficits, ineffective financial management practices and unfavorable socioeconomic and demographic trends," the department said.

State officials credited the mayor and city council for working together to help the city “prepare and follow realistic budgets and find ways to improve services while cutting costs." Monetization of the sewer authority also provided funds to address pension shortfalls and pay off punitive loans, officials said.

Officials said Scranton is the 16th municipality to exit the Act 47 program enacted in 1987 to provide fiscal management oversight, technical assistance, planning and financial aid to municipalities experiencing severe fiscal distress.

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