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Petitions seeking distressed status

Published: Tue, October 24, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A group of city residents believes it has collected enough valid signatures to ask the state to approve distressed status for the city.
Rosemary Henderson, one of the group of five who collected signatures, said they tallied their petitions Monday and have 688 signatures. By law, they were required to obtain 614 signatures.
John Altman, another group member, said the petitions will be notarized and then sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development in Harrisburg.
Altman said the DCED has 10 days to set up a public hearing. The hearing should be held within a month. In that time, the DCED will investigate the city's finances, he said.
The state will make a decision within 30 days of the hearing, Altman said.
City officials have refused to declare the city financially distressed and have instead asked employees to take wage freezes to help. A consulting firm hired by the city has recommended it apply for distressed financial status with the state.
The group of citizens collecting petitions also included Bill Heasley, Cathy Brown and Shelly Merk.

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