The Pennsylvania General Assembly continues to battle over revenue sources while the state remains without a complete state budget. And when it seems impossible, things actually continue to worsen with the House and Senate scheduled sessions to begin this afternoon. Over the weekend, the idea of a storage tax was discussed and it now seems

A bill introduced by Representative Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) would impose a new public meeting requirement on municipalities considering selling or leasing their water or sewer systems. The bill was recently approved in the House unanimously, and has been referred to the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee.

House Bill 477 would require municipalities to

Pennsylvania State Senators John Blake, John DiSanto, and Mike Folmer recently introduced a trio of new municipal debt reform bills that follow on the package of reform bills introduced in the Senate in March. The new bills – Senate Bill 694, Senate Bill 695, and Senate Bill 696 – would expand the power of the Office of Attorney General to prosecute political crimes at the municipal level, increase the statute of limitations for such crimes, and require third class cities to put out for competitive bid all contracts for professional services.

Continue Reading Pennsylvania Senators Introduce New Municipal Debt Reform Bills

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 Public Water Suppliers Face Proposed Fee Increase and More-Stringent Standards

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 Municipal Debt Reform Proposals Reintroduced in State Senate

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 Combating Blight: New Tools for the Ongoing Municipal Battle

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 Governor Wolf Calls for Major Business Tax Increases in 2017 Budget Proposal

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