After 32 years in state-designated financial distress, Aliquippa faces a three-year deadline to either prove financial solvency or to have the state take over official control.
The city’s challenge is not insignificant. It ended two of the last five years more than $100,000 in the red, and projections for this and the next three years show even more significant deficits if major steps are not taken.
In addition, there are instances of the city borrowing from Peter to pay Paul-type measures being taken to keep it afloat. In January, city council requested a $385,000 advance from the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa.
The MWAA took over collecting garbage fees in the last quarter of 2018 to allow the city to cut off water service for delinquent accounts to get better collection rates.
The city claimed the $385,000 would be compensation for delayed collection during the transfer. But the authority’s calculation showed only $193,411.73 would have been collected, and its solicitor said it was illegal to loan the city any additional money.