On May 17, 2017, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (“EQB”) greenlighted a proposal that would substantially increase fees for public water suppliers regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection (“PADEP”).  In addition to seeking the fee hike, the proposal would amend other regulations under the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act (“SDWA”), with some changes being even more stringent than federal standards.  The proposal now will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin followed by a public comment period of at least 30 days.

Stakeholders should carefully review the proposal and consider submitting comments, including all community water systems, noncommunity water systems, and bottled, vended, retail, and bulk water suppliers.  Those affected may include municipalities with water supply systems and businesses that supply water to the public or their own employees.


Continue Reading

A series of municipal debt reform proposals have been reintroduced in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Versions of these proposals have been introduced in every legislative session dating back to the 2013-2014 term, although the proposals have changed somewhat over the years. This session’s bills are number SB 490 through SB 493.

As with bills from past sessions, the current proposals would change the way municipalities obtain approval from the Department of Community and Economic Development (“DCED”) to issue bonds, notes or other public debt, as well as make a number of reforms to those current provisions governing interest rate swaps, performance bonds and municipal authority projects.


Continue Reading

Blight – or urban decay – reduces property values, has been linked to higher crime rates, and is visible throughout Pennsylvania in the form of deteriorated and abandoned properties.  The Pennsylvania Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act, 53  Pa.C.S. §6101 et seq. (the “Act”), provides additional tools to combat blight.  Originally passed as Act 90 of 2010 (“Act 90”), the Act subsequently was amended through the passage of Act 171 of 2014 (“Act 171”) and Act 34 of 2015 (“Act 34”).  Through the Act and related laws as well as financing opportunities, municipalities and developers have the tools necessary to reduce blight and make neighborhoods safer and more desirable.

Continue Reading

On Tuesday, February 7th, Governor Wolf presented his 2017 budget address to a joint session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.   The Governor’s proposal includes a $1 Billion increase in the tax burden on Pennsylvania businesses and individuals. While the Governor stated that he was proposing no “broad-based tax increases,” his budget does raise revenues significantly while not addressing pension liability. We are currently analyzing the specifics of the Governor’s budget proposal and will provide more information in future posts. For now, however, here are some high level takeaways on the tax front:

Continue Reading

McNees attorney Steve Matzura recently covered for the McNees Energy and Environmental User Blog the proposal by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) of a new rule that would expand the scope of its current authority over projects that withdraw and use water in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York. Per Steve’s analysis:

The proposal would

A recent decision by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (“PUC” or “Commission”) confirms that Pennsylvania public utilities with combined sewer systems (i.e., systems that collect both sewage and stormwater) may incorporate stormwater charges in their service charges.  While some public utilities have already been incorporating stormwater collection charges in their sewage rates, not all

The Pennsylvania 2015-2016 Budget Impasse may be (technically) over, but it just claimed another victim.  From The Bond Buyer:

Standard & Poor’s has discontinued its underlying rating for credit enhancement programs on rated Pennsylvania school districts.

S&P announced the policy change Tuesday afternoon as an additional step to its December withdrawal of ratings based

DEP is in the process of finalizing changes to individual and general permits for municipal storm sewer systems  that would result in stringent and costly requirements on municipalities throughout the Commonwealth. I recently co-authored an article for publication in The Legal Intelligencer on these changes, and how municipalities can address them.

DEP’s proposed changes modify

With relatively little fanfare last year, shortly before he was given an early retirement by the voters, Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania signed into law Act 199, which amends the Commonwealth’s program for distress municipalities known as Act 47.

Act 199 makes numerous changes to municipal recovery in Pennsylvania.  While most of the attention has

Reprinted with permission from the September 24, 2013 issue of The Legal Intelligencer. 
© 2013 ALM Media Properties, LLC. 
Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.

If you are a municipality in Pennsylvania, you do not have an easy life.  In many ways, you operate like a small business: you have revenues, expenses