Institute of Politics

Voluntary Municipal Disincorporation Report Released

Many municipalities throughout Allegheny County are struggling to deliver high-quality municipal services because of shrinking tax bases and state funding cuts. Without these necessary services, residents and businesses are deprived of basic public safety, needed infrastructure improvements, and economic opportunities.

Recognizing this need, the Allegheny County executive requested the Institute investigate the tool of voluntary municipal disincorporation. This tool allows a struggling municipality to voluntarily dissolve into the country in which it is located. The county would then provide municipal services to the former municipality in exchange for a tax or fee. The theory is that efficient and effective services can be delivered by the county by stretching revenue with economies of scale and by removing administrative redundancies. Disincorporation does not currently exist in Pennsylvania except under the newly revised Act 47 legislation pertaining to distressed municipalities. However, it is an available tool in 38 states, including the neighboring states of Maryland, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia.

To study this issue, the Institute formed the Voluntary Municipal Disincorporation Task Force, a committee of local government experts, including former county and state elected officials, academics, and local and state administrators. The task force was cochaired by former Allegheny County Executives Dan Onorato and Jim Roddey. The deliberation and research of the task force have been captured in the report title Voluntary Municipal Disincorporation: Creative Solutions for Counties of the Second Class. To learn more about the Voluntary Municipal Disincorporation Task Force, click here