The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development is removing Clairton’s distressed city status.
Clairton, about 15 miles from Pittsburgh, entered the state’s Act 47 program — which is supposed to help distressed municipalities recover fiscally — in 1988. It had an eroding tax base, a reduction in municipal services (it was not able to maintain its local police force for several years), pension liabilities and budget deficits.
But Clairton has since downsized and professionalized its municipal staff, sold off its sewer system for $10 million, and collected on delinquent taxes, among other changes that have shored up its accounts. Last year, Clairton actually had a surplus in its general fund.