Oct 20 (Reuters) - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed
legislation Thursday that allows for the takeover of the
capital city of Harrisburg, according to the governor's
spokeswoman Kelli Roberts.
The bill empowers the governor to declare a state of fiscal
emergency in Harrisburg and petition for the appointment of a
receiver. The receiver would be charged with drafting and
implementing a long-term recovery plan.
"I remain a strong proponent for municipal governments
tackling their own problems and coming together to develop a
fiscal recovery plan when necessary," Corbett said in a
statement. "But when that fails to happen, the state has to
take action to ensure public safety.
In a bid to resolve its debt crisis, the Harrisburg City
Council voted 4-3 on Oct. 11 to file for a Chapter 9 municipal
The action immediately generated conflict between the City
Council and the mayor, Linda Thompson, and the state
legislature and the governor. All dispute the legality of the
Council's action in filing for bankruptcy.
At a hearing on Monday, a U.S. bankruptcy judge declined to
rule immediately on the legality of the bankruptcy filing and
set a date of Nov. 23 to hear petitions on the matter.
On Thursday, Corbett signed the takeover bill in a private
ceremony, Roberts said.
"The bill signed into law today will help to enforce Act 47
when municipalities fail to adopt a fiscal recovery plan,
making it clear that if there is a failure to act, the state
will intervene," Corbett added. "This legislation does not
change the overall goal, and that goal is for distressed
third-class cities to adopt and implement a fiscal recovery
plan that will lead to solvency."
(Reporting by Chip Barnett in New York; Editing by Theodore
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