HARRISBURG – Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary C. Alan Walker named the law firm of Stevens and Lee to be the coordinator for developing and implementing a recovery plan for the city of Altoona.
The Stevens and Lee team, which also includes the firms of DSI Civic and Financial S&Lutions, LLC, will begin work immediately.
“This team of more than 30 professionals will bring objectivity and experience that will help Altoona emerge from its financial struggles,” Walker said. “Each member of the team brings their own area of expertise to address Altoona’s financial issues. Together, their knowledge of a full range of municipal government issues will be a great asset to the city.”
With eight Pennsylvania locations, Stevens and Lee is among the 200 largest law firms in the nation. The firm’s interdisciplinary team has worked in several other Act 47 municipalities and is well-versed in municipal administration, finance and labor law.
DSI Civic is a leading provider of management and financial advisory services with over 35 years of experience across the country. Financial S&Lutions is a financial advisory firm providing financial and debt management services to municipalities, school districts, authorities and non-profit entities throughout Pennsylvania.
Under Act 47, the coordinator is responsible for working with city officials, employees, DCED and the broader Altoona community to develop a comprehensive recovery plan that address all areas of municipal operations. The plan will recommend improvements to Altoona’s organizational structure, financial administration, debt situation, municipal service levels, intergovernmental cooperation and overall economic base.
Stevens and Lee will have 90 days from contract execution to develop and propose a recovery plan to the mayor, city council and DCED. The recovery plan will also be subject to a public hearing and comment. Following the adoption of the recovery plan, the coordinator will then help the city implement the recommendations.
While DCED and the appointed coordinator will provide oversight, elected city officials have ultimate responsibility for the city’s policies and day-to-day management of city affairs.
Altoona is the 27th Pennsylvania municipality to enter into a recovery program under Act 47 since the law was enacted in 1987.
Act 47 directs state government to provide oversight and develop a formal partnership with municipalities that are experiencing financial distress to ensure that taxpayers receive necessary and vital services. Pennsylvania’s oversight includes fiscal management, technical assistance, planning and financial aid, with emphasis on long-term fiscal management improvements, service delivery efficiencies, intergovernmental cooperation, and economic/community development initiatives.
For more information on the resources available for local governments experiencing financial distress, or additional information on Act 47, visit www.newPA.com or call 1-866-466-3972.