ALTOONA – Despite public comments of concern and reluctant discussion between officials, Altoona City Council members unanimously decided to approve a resolution for a petition to pursue the Act 47 Distressed Municipalities Program.
In previous workshop meetings, council members said the city’s reserve funds used to balance the budget in previous years were used up, that Altoona is facing a $1.6 million deficit and that the city would be forced to eliminate 40 jobs if it can’t find a long-term solution.
Council member Bruce Kelley told 6News that Wednesday night’s decision was just the first step in a nine-month long process of entering a Distressed Municipality Program, and that they will not enter Act 47 if they are able to find another financial solution in the coming weeks.
“If you look at the last 10 years, we have reduced the staff of the city. I think we’re to a point where we’re really in jeopardy of endangering the city and the residents with continued cuts to the fire department, to the police and public works; frankly to all departments,” said Kelley. “We’re down pretty thin. We many have to do this to keep everything going.”
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