On May 26, 2020 Representative Rob Freeman (Democrat – Northampton County) introduced House Bill 2548 in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, to provide a temporary reprieve to municipalities enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Municipal Financial Recovery Program. Mr. Freeman is the minority chair of the House Local Government Committee, the committee to which the bill was referred for consideration.

House Bill 2548 would offer an 18-month reprieve to municipalities currently enrolled in the financial recovery program. The extension would apply both to scheduled expirations of existing financial recovery plans and to deadlines to exit the program entirely (through a termination of distressed status).

To qualify for the extension, however, enrolled municipalities must submit within 60 days of the effective date of HB 2548 a plan amendment that at a minimum identifies how the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to impact the municipality’s recovery plan objectives. A municipality which fails to submit a plan amendment within 60 days is ineligible for the extension.

For distressed municipalities faced with the uncertainty of how the pandemic will affect their plans for recovery, HB 2548 offers a welcome respite from any upcoming deadlines they may face under the program. It remains to be seen whether the Local Government will take up Mr. Freeman’s proposal.

For more information about the economic impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic, including updates to House Bill 2548, you can subscribe to this blog or visit the McNees COVID-19 Articles and Resource Center.