Altoona, Pa.’s City Council on Feb. 13 will consider an ordinance to schedule a May referendum on whether to create a government study commission.
Such a move is recommended in the city’s recovery plan under the state-sponsored Act 47 workout program for distressed communities.
According to the Altoona Mirror, if a majority of voters approve it and the necessary seven commission candidates receive enough votes for election, the panel would have nine months to examine options, which would include making Altoona a home-rule community.
That recommendation would itself become subject of a voter referendum, the newspaper reported.
Adopting home rule is an Act 47 “exit strategy,” because it would allow the city to emerge from under state caps on real estate and earned income taxes, according to Act 47 plan, which the city recently adopted.
Altoona officials have said they want to emerge from Act 47 status as quickly as possible, the newspaper reported.
Home rule would not allow the city to keep its recently levied Act 47 commuter tax, which is an additional earned income tax on non-residents who work in the city.
Nanticoke and Plymouth Township in Luzerne County have adopted home rule as part of their Act 47 exit strategy according to the recovery plan, the Mirror wrote.
Altoona is one of 27 Pennsylvania communities labeled distressed under Act 47, which the state Department of Community and Economic Development administers.