Pittsburgh ICA board requests to be dissolved by Harrisburg

Pittsburgh ICA board requests to be dissolved by Harrisburg

Author: Alanna Koll/Tuesday, January 9, 2018/Categories: Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Authority held what the board hopes to be their final ever quarterly meeting Monday afternoon.

During the brief meeting, members voted to pass a resolution calling on the state General Assembly to dissolve the Authority now that Pittsburgh has requested to be pulled from Act 47 distress status.

Pittsburgh’s Act 47 coordinators announced in September that the city meets the main requirements to leave the status, which it has been under since late 2003. The state Department of Community and Economic Development and Secretary Dennis Davin are currently reviewing the city’s request. Mayor Peduto and his administration are hopeful the city could leave the status within the month.

“The governor’s remarks at the Mayor’s inauguration suggested that he expected the recommendation to leave Act 47 to hit his desk in January, so we’re staying in close contact with the governor’s office on that, said the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Dan Gilman. “I still fully expect that announcement to happen this month.”

And with that anticipated announcement, the ICA board, along with many members of the General Assembly, believe the duty of the Authority is no longer needed. But according to Act 99 of 2016, the revamped law governing the ICA, the Authority must remain intact until Pittsburgh leaves the distressed status, or June 30, 2019, whichever is later.

“[The General Assembly] simply needs to amend [Act 99] to say whichever is earlier,” said Reynolds “Renny” Clark, Interim Executive Director of the ICA. “I’m not a legislator, but it just seems to be a very simple amendment. Anyone we’ve talked to in Harrisburg said they don’t see the need for the ICA any longer.

“We are hoping since we passed this resolution, it will spur them to take action.”

The resolution was passed 3-1 by the board, with Treasurer Michael Danovitz being the sole negative vote. He believes there is still more work to be done by the body.

“There hasn’t been oversight [by the ICA] in two years,” said Danovitz, who was appointed to the board by House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-McCandless). “The job is not done because pensions are not done. They are only 58 to 57 percent fully funded.”

As part of the resolution, the board has also called on the city to grant the ICA $37,000 to pay out remaining operations, such as a final audit and service fees to Mr. Clark who has not been paid since October.

The Authority has been struggling to pay for its operations since the General Assembly cut its annual appropriation of $250,000 this budget year. The body is currently operating with a budget of $32.41 to close out its entire operations of approximately $37,000.

“$37,000 allows us to wrap everything up, get a final audit done, pay all outstanding invoices and shut us down,” said Clark.

The city has signified positively that it will be able to provide the funds. A bill appropriating the funds by City Council is expected in the coming weeks.

“In the way that the state statute is written, if the funding is not there from the state, it falls on the host municipality to cover it, so we have a legal obligation to do so,” said Gilman. “It’s an amount that I feel comfortable with as a plan for the ICA to wind down operations and cease to exist.”

The resolution requesting that the ICA be dissolved via an amendment to Act 99 is now on its way to legislative leaders, the governor, and state Budget Secretary Randy Albright and Sec. Dennis Davin. As the board awaits word from Harrisburg, Mr. Clark is hopeful Monday’s meeting was the last meeting of the ICA.

“Unless something comes up, this will be the last meeting of the ICA board,” he said.