The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee held a hearing yesterday in Lancaster to hear testimony on many issues confronting third-class cities, according to committee Chairman Senator Gene Yaw (R-23).
During the hearing, representatives from local and state government, businesses, realtor associations and economic development organizations discussed a wide range of issues and challenges confronting small cities. Senators heard input in the general areas of affordable housing, fiscal issues, and blight and community revitalization. Specifics presented to the Senators related to such topics as municipal pensions, regionalization of services and the impact of tax exempt properties.
“In these tough economic times, cities are facing a daunting task when it comes to providing affordable housing and municipal services while balancing budgets,” Yaw said. “Our goal was to hear how we in state government can work more closely to help them handle these issues more effectively.”
“Small cities are feeling the crunch, and we need to find ways to encourage economic development and attract businesses and families to these areas,” he said. “I believe the best way to aid third-class cities is to hear their concerns and structure programs and policies that will help them to weather the current financial downturn and position themselves for the future.”
Yaw noted that there are many strong and vibrant cities across Pennsylvania that are the business, cultural and social hubs of their regions.
“We need to find solutions to the fiscal challenges facing these cities and work with them to help encourage growth and revitalization,” Yaw said. “And that means looking at the very framework under which they were created and making the necessary changes to help them survive and thrive.”
Contact: Adam Pankake