Harrisburg’s 2009 audit, which it released two years late on Wednesday, showed that Pennsylvania’s capital went from a $46.1 million surplus to a $227.1 million liability with the booking of Harrisburg Authority incinerator bond debt onto the city’s financial statements.
That debt at the time was $264 million. That total has risen to at least $310 million, and the city is now under state receivership.
“It was the year in which the proverbial chickens came home to roost,” Mayor Linda Thompson said at a City Hall news conference.
Thompson said city officials would begin right away on audits for 2010 and 2011, though she gave no timetable for completion.
Thompson, who took office in January 2010, blamed her predecessor, 28-year mayor Stephen Reed, for what she called “costly and questionable” employee union contract extensions, and for $4 million worth of carried-over unpaid receivables.
Thompson defeated Reed in a general election in November 2009.
Reed was not reachable for comment.
Officials from the Harrisburg Authority, the public works agency that owns the incinerator, blamed the city for past-due audits when Moody’s Investors Service last fall withdrew its rating on $69.4 million of the authority’s Series 2008 water system refunding bonds.
“Audits matter,” board member William Cluck said at the time.
The authority’s forensic audit in January questioned the validity of incinerator bond deals, and calls for a federal investigation of financings have come from members of the City Council and the city’s former state-appointed receiver, David Unkovic.