Shamokin extends Act 47 status for 18 months

Jan. 24—SHAMOKIN — The City of Shamokin voted earlier this month to extend its status as a financially distressed municipality for another 18 months.

City council members on Jan. 9 adopted an ordinance that allows the city to remain in the state Department of Community and Economic Development's Act 47 protection program. The city plans to exit the program on Aug. 20, 2024.

As part of the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED)'s Act 47 protection program since July 2014, Shamokin is considered a financially distressed municipality, which allows the city to avoid bankruptcy, secure state interest-free loan assistance and budgetary oversight and authorizes collecting higher taxes. Shamokin had a three-year plan to leave Act 47 status in February 2023, but an 18-month extension puts the date in August 2024.

The ordinance also includes consideration to pursue litigation against Northumberland County to force a reassessment. This issue is part of the state's recommendations from the city's exit plan out of Act 47 status.

Mayor Rich Ulrich and council members Doreen Annis, Barbara Moyer and Billy Milbrand voted in favor while Councilwoman Tonya Leschinskie voted against it.

Under Act 47, cities like Shamokin can adopt higher taxing rates. Earlier this month, Northumberland County Judge Hugh Jones approved the city's petition to keep millage rates 5 mills above the maximum millage rate and 1 percent above the maximum earned income tax, which would allow the city to generate nearly $800,000 in revenue to balance the budget. It is the 15th consecutive year that the city was approved for the higher millage rate of 35 mills and the ninth year for the earned income tax at 2 percent.