The state-appointed receiver overseeing Harrisburg, Pa.’s finances said he will announce on Tuesday his short list of qualified bidders to operate the city’s incinerator, water and sewer system, and parking system.
According to receiver David Unkovic’s website, five companies have submitted bids for the incinerator, which is ground zero for the debt crisis in Pennsylvania’s capital city.
In addition, 14 companies have bid for the parking garages, and five for the water and sewer systems.
“We’ve done an initial evaluation of who’s qualified. It’s going to be a minor diminution of the list,” Unkovic said Monday.
Bidders for the incinerator include the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority, which last year offered $124 million, without assumption of debt.
The city owes about $310 million in incinerator bond payments and has defaulted on about $65 million worth of payments.
Unkovic’s financial recovery plan includes selling or leasing the city assets before negotiating with bond creditors.
Speaking at a public forum last week, Unkovic said he is prepared, if necessary, to initiate legal action against firms responsible for the buildup of incinerator debt.
“If there are causes of action that can be brought and it makes sense to bring them, then I’m going to push forward with that,” Unkovic said Thursday at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore.
At Unkovic’s behest, Harrisburg missed two general obligation bond payments last Thursday worth a combined $5.3 million. He said the move was necessary to cover payroll and basic services. Bond insurer Ambac Financial Inc. is expected to cover the payments,.
“The bond insurer is another creditor for the city,” Unkovic said at the forum, sponsored by the citizens group Harrisburg Hope.
The skipped payments consisted of $2.735 million in GO refunding bonds, Series 1997D, and $2.53 million in GO refunding notes, Series 1997F.
Unkovic said he notified Ambac on March 9 of the missed GO payments.
The next semiannual GO bond payment is due Sept. 15. Last September, the city narrowly missed defaulting on its bond payment by signing a $7.4 million, 10-year lease extension with the Harrisburg Parking Authority.
“We’ll see what the situation is when we get to September,” said Unkovic. “I can’t comment now. I’ll have to see where we’re at.”
But city Controller Dan Miller, speaking to the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, said he did not envision the city making another bond payment this year.