The urge to close the loose ends of Harrisburg's financial recovery plan by the end of next month hovered over Friday's State of the City ceremonies in Pennsylvania's capital city on Friday.
"Now, while the bond market is favorable, and before we move into the city's traditional cash flow crunch in January, we must close all the 'Harrisburg Strong' transactions," Mayor Linda Thompson said at the Harrisburg Hilton.
"We have to approve all the settlements and transfers to get rid of the liability of the incinerator and turn our parking system into a long-term revenue stream that provides a guaranteed greater return to the city, by next month," said Thompson. "The incinerator, parking, water and sewer, and sanitation deals are all part of a single recovery transaction. No one single event can happen until everything happens."
State-appointed receiver William Lynch's "Harrisburg Strong" financial recovery plan, which aims to keep the city out of bankruptcy court, calls for erasing more than $600 million of debt, including $363 million of bond financing overruns from an incinerator retrofit project. Pivotal to the plan are the sale of the incinerator to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority and a 40-year lease of city parking assets - garages, lots and metered spaces.
Asset transfers must occur before parties can hold the bond sales.
The plan also calls for a balanced budget for four years. The city has already transferred its water, wastewater and sewer system to the Harrisburg Authority public works agency.