SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s official. After three decades, the city of Scranton is no longer in “financial distress” status with the state.

It’s a huge step in regaining control of finances at the local level. An event was held Tuesday in celebration of the big day as the state restored trust back to the elected officials.

It was a day celebrating the city of Scranton’s exit from Act 47. Secretary for the State Department of Community and Economic Development, Dennis Davin, released the city from its’ financial distress status after three decades.

“30 years ago there was disfunction, there were problems and not unique to Scranton but Scranton took them head-on, they faced their problems, took some fights,” former Pennsylvania Economy League executive director Gerald Cross said.

Cross worked for the state economy league, providing objective, fact-based recommendations to city leaders. Act 47 was enacted in 1987. Scranton entered in January of 1992. The statute outlines procedures to stabilize municipalities undergoing financial distress in the state.

“I tried to tell City Council we do not qualify,” former Scranton mayor Jimmy Connors said.

At the time, Connors was against having the commonwealth label the city in a negative way.

“That’s what people hear when you tell them distress. They hear bankrupt. And we were not bankrupt,” Connors said.

Mayor in 1998, Connors had to work with state recommendations to pass a budget.

“The state wants this plan implemented and we do not want to jeopardize any of the money that could come to us,” Connors said in November 1998.

Act 47 helped elected officials stay on track to better manage taxpayer dollars. While it took decades, Mayor Paige Cognetti believes the city is in a good position.

“We know how to work as a community, as a city government, we know how to work with the state very well to continue to use them as a support system. We have a tremendous work to do to make sure that we continue to grow our economy, continue to grow our tax base,” Cognetti said.

Cognetti says by exiting the financially distressed status, trust has been restored.

“Today is a stamp of approval I would say from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that Scranton is on the right track,” Cognetti said.

Scranton is the 16th municipality in the state to exit Act 47.

Hazleton, Mahanoy City, and Shamokin are currently labeled as “financially distressed.” Of those three, Shamokin is the only one that has adopted an exit plan. They could exit Act 47 next year.