Reading could make early exit from Act 47 in 2019

'We're going to be ready,' managing director says

READING, Pa. - Emerging from the financial gutter, Altoona has made the fastest exit from Act 47, a state program that offers fiscal oversight and aid to municipalities in financial distress. Now, the big question being asked: Could Reading be next? 

"What we're hoping for and what we're encouraging city officials to work towards is the first path, the path that Altoona just took, to exit 47 successfully at the end of 2019," said Gordon Mann, Reading's Act 47 liason. 

Mann said there are three possible outcomes for Reading come 2019: 

  • ​​Exit Act 47
  • Extend Act 47 by three years
  • Declare Fiscal Emergency

"The city of Reading has made progress under Act 47 financially," said Mann. "City government has been living within its means, it's been balancing its budget, it's been doing those types of financial management things that are necessary to get out of Act 47."

It comes down to financial responsibility and investment. Glenn Steckman, Reading's managing director, said that's what's happening.

"The city is investing close to $230 million in its infrastructure," said Steckman. "I know of no other Act 47 city doing that."

Steckman said two new fire stations will be on the way in the coming years, and this year, the city's putting $3.5 million to use for road paving, with a similar amount next year.

"We're going to be ready [to leave Act 47] before [June 2019]. Altoona made an early exit. I anticipate there is a possibility that the city of Reading could make an early exit," said Steckman.

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