The city of Altoona received almost $40 million in one-time American Rescue Plan Act funds, a federal pandemic aid program that handed a life-line to large and small municipalities across the country.

Without the ARPA money, “there would be an operational deficit,” City Manager Omar Strohm told the Altoona Mirror, speaking about the city's no-property-tax increase 2023 budget.

Altoona, one of eight case study municipalities in PEL's, "It's Not 1965 Anymore: State Tax Laws Fail to Meet Municipal Revenue Needs," was able to bring back employees cut during the pandemic, fund its capital plan and build up its fund balance.

But high inflation and the normal cost of doing business makes the future uncertain for the former Act 47 city in rural Blair County, where both median housing values and post-secondary degrees are half of the state's values.

Do you have local government expertise? PEL is seeking consultants.

We are looking for consultants to work with us in the area of local government operations including public safety and public works.

If you are interested, please send your resume to CEO LeeAnne Rogers at