Dauphin County Commissioners OK $170M for Harrisburg Parking Deal

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The Dauphin County, Pa. commissioners voted to approve $170 million in revenue bonds related to the parking lease deal in Harrisburg, Pa.’s debt-recovery plan.

The Oct. 30 vote came one day after the City Council delayed a similar vote. Asset transfers by the city and county are procedural to adoption of the Harrisburg Strong plan, which the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania approved on Sept. 19.

The parking deal and the sale of the incinerator to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority are the centerpieces of a plan intended to erase $600 million of debt and keep Pennsylvania’s capital city from filing bankruptcy.

But while the three-member county board unanimously approved the county issuing up to $170 million in debt as financing for the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority’s subordinate guaranteed parking revenue bonds, Chairman Jeff Haste urged continued examination of the deal.

“We are moving this forward under good faith,” he said. “In my estimation, we are not quite finished with due diligence,” said Haste. “We’re real close, but because of the timeliness of things we are at the point where we do need to move it forward. I would just ask that our team continue to do due diligence on this.”

The parking bonds involve separate series of $99 million and $71 million. The deal would involve a 40-year asset lease to Harrisburg First, a consortium that includes Guggenheim Securities, Piper Jaffray & Co., Standard Parking Corp. and Trimont Real Estate Advisors. Trimont entered after AEW Capital Management withdrew.

State-appointed receiver William Lynch and his team want to price the bonds while interest rates remain low, and before another cash-flow crunch confronts the city in December or January.

City Council president Wanda Williams on Oct. 29 said the council needs more time to examine the asset-transfer documents. “I don’t want to be rushed and I think I’m being rushed,” she said.

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