GREENVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – Loccal leaders in Greenville say this is just like graduation day, the small community has finally emerged from state fiscal oversight under Pennsylvania’s economic recovery program known as Act 47.
In the early 2000s, Greenville had an annual budget of around $3 million, but the borough fell $7 million in debt.
“In the case here, they got off course a little bit,” said Deputy Secretary Rick Vilello, with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. “It’s hard enough facing the challenges when everybody’s rowing in the same direction but when everybody’s not rowing in the same direction, it’s almost an impossible task,”
In 2001, the state came in and worked with local officials to make needed cuts in the police, fire and street departments. It also imposed new fees for stormwater management as well as the fire service.
“They are hard choices. Anything that’s going to cost your residents more money, but the reality of it is the stability of our community. We had to make those choices,” said Greenville Mayor Paul Hamill.
Now, 21 years and six months later, state officials presented documents removing the borough from the list of distressed municipalities. Staffing has been cut from around 60 to 39 and there’s a budget surplus.
“I believe we’re on the right rack now of being about $120,000 to the good,” Hamill said.
To stay in the black, local officials will continue working with the state.
“We have a strategic management committee that doesn’t look at we have lots of money, let’s go spend it. We look at how we take that money and invest it to go longer and further in the community,” Hamill said.