Four years after Fetterman leaves Mayor’s office, Braddock exits “distressed municipality” status

19 July 2023- Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger announced the approval of Braddock’s exit from distressed status under the Municipalities Financial Recovery Program, known as Act 47.

The Shapiro Administration, focused on boosting Pennsylvania’s economy, knows the importance of strengthening our communities to make the Commonwealth a better place to live, work, and prosper.

“This is a great day of celebration for Braddock, one that has been 35 years in the making,” said Secretary Siger. “I want to commend everyone who has worked together to put the borough on sound financial footing — the local officials, community leaders, businesses, and residents of Braddock for helping to make this day a reality. The Shapiro Administration knows that having strong, vibrant communities is a critical part of Pennsylvania’s economic competitiveness, and we look forward to our continued work together with Braddock to ensure it can thrive and prosper for years to come.”

Secretary Siger signed a formal determination letter finding that termination of the borough’s distressed status was appropriate under Section 255.1 of Act 47. The decision was made due to Braddock’s ability to effectively utilize the tools offered through the program to significantly improve its financial position and management infrastructure since entering Act 47.

United States Senator John Fetterman, who served as the mayor of Braddock from 2006 to 2019, congratulated Braddock on today’s achievement.

“This is a special day for Braddock,” said Fetterman. “I’m very proud that the borough has finally exited Act 47 status after many years of hard work to get back on track and get its finances in order. We began on this track when I was mayor, bringing in businesses and investment to help revitalize Braddock. And under the leadership of Mayor Delia, the borough has only continued its success. Thank you to everyone involved for your hard work to get us to this point.”

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who has served in that position since 2012, also offered his congratulations on Braddock’s exit from Act 47.

“Congratulations to everyone who has been involved with Braddock’s revival and improving its finances and outlook. We’re excited to see where the borough goes from here,” said Fitzgerald. “We want every municipality in the county to do well and have put our money where our mouth is, investing nearly $54 million over the last 12 years in the borough and the businesses and developments which call it home. We hope to see Braddock continue to thrive and grow with these investments serving as an anchor for future prosperity.”

Braddock was designated as distressed on June 15, 1988, under Act 47. The determination was made because of the borough’s inability to pay employees and liabilities, which was caused by deteriorating economic conditions and an eroding tax base. George Dougherty of Evaluation Resources was subsequently appointed the Act 47 Coordinator for the borough.

“I am proud of the tough work and difficult decisions that led to Braddock’s current financial stability and success,” said Dougherty. “Municipal managers, staff, and elected officials have all played a decisive role as Braddock built its rainy-day fund, developed a capital budget, and completed its comprehensive plan. The future is bright for Braddock Borough and the wonderful people who make it home.”

Braddock has made significant strides to improve its management practices and fiscal situation. The borough experienced three years of surpluses from 2019-2021. From 2017-2021, the borough’s cumulative surplus was $1,597,830 which elected and appointed officials used to create a rainy-day fund and to fund capital improvements. Braddock also has no long-term debt obligations. The borough’s only use of debt is limited to short-term loans for the purchase of police and public works vehicles and equipment. A total of $41,550 of debt service payments was included in the borough’s 2023 budget with no obligations after 2023. The borough also stated there are currently no pending lawsuits or claims against it. Lastly, the Act 47 Coordinator projects that Braddock’s revenues and expenditures will grow by 1.4% annually from 2023-2027.These financial trends will result in annual surpluses of approximately 6.5% which will allow for fiscal and service level solvency over the next five years.

Braddock is the 24th municipality to recover from distressed status under act 47. Prior to Braddock, Rankin Borough, Allegheny County, was the most recent community to recover, exiting Act 47 status on May 24, 2023. For a full list of the municipalities that have recovered from distressed status under the program, please click on the Act 47 Financial Distress page of the DCED website.