Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg’s state-appointed ICA down to four members, as chair submits resignation

The Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority met on Wednesday. From left: Kathy Speaker MacNett, David Schankweiler, Ralph Vartan, Audry Carter and Jeffrey Stonehill (authority manager).

Harrisburg’s Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority is down to four voting members, as the chairman today announced his resignation from the state-appointed board.

At the end of the ICA’s monthly meeting, Chair David Schankweiler announced his departure, saying that another “opportunity,” which he declined to specify, prevented him from continuing to serve on the body.

“I need to, as of today, resign as an authority member,” he said. “I’m disappointed having to do this because I’ve enjoyed serving with the authority and for the city.”

Gov. Tom Wolf and state legislative leaders appointed the ICA’s five voting members. Schankweiler, the former publisher of the Central Penn Business Journal, was appointed in January by state Senate Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, who presumably would have the authority to appoint a replacement.

The remaining board members then voted to appoint Audry Carter, the ICA’s vice chair, as the new chair. ICA member Ralph Vartan was appointed as the new vice chair.

“It will be an honor to try and follow in your footsteps,” Carter said, following her appointment. “You helped us get through that incredibly steep learning curve.”

In addition to Carter and Vartan, the board’s voting members are UPMC Pinnacle executive Tina Nixon and attorney Kathy Speaker MacNett.

The ICA and the city are in the midst of finalizing a five-year financial recovery plan for the city. Mayor Eric Papenfuse, who attended the ICA meeting, said that City Council will meet in executive session next week to review changes to the draft Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement.

Once that agreement is finalized and approved, Harrisburg will have the ability to exit Act 47, the state’s program for financially distressed municipalities.

Otherwise, the board heard a presentation Wednesday on the city’s finances by Bruce Weber, Harrisburg’s budget and finance director.

Weber said that 2019 revenues are coming in as expected. Property tax receipts are about flat compared to last year, he said. However, both earned income tax and local services tax revenues are higher than anticipated, indicating a relatively strong city economy. Judging by these receipts, Weber estimated that the city created some 1,500 jobs through the second quarter.

“I think it’s important to note that, while we have some long-term fiscal challenges, I think we’re in a period of stability now, and that’s important to note, broadly speaking,” Weber said.

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