Public hearings on the debt structure of the Harrisburg, Pa., incinerator retrofit project, originally set for late August, have been rescheduled for Oct. 4, the chairman of the state Senate's local government committee said Friday.
Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Blair Township, said the initial hearing will concern the forensic investigative audit by the Harrisburg Authority public works agency, released in January. Eichelberger said over the summer that hearing could last several days.
Members of the forensic investigation team are expected to testify, as well as representatives of state and local government entities, according to a statement by Eichelberger. He said an agenda will be available closer to the hearing date.
The hearing date conflicts with another important event pertaining to the debt crisis in Pennsylvania's capital city. In the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania that morning, Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter is scheduled to hear oral arguments on state-appointed receiver William Lynch's order to double the state's earned-income tax to 2% from 1%; a majority of the City Council opposes the order.
Cost overruns on the bond-financed incinerator are the major factor in Harrisburg being saddled with more than $320 million of debt that it cannot pay. According to Lynch, the city could run out of money this fall.
City Council member Brad Koplinski, a former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer who has requested the SEC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to examine the bond financings, said Friday he might challenge Mayor Linda Thompson in next year's race, but will decide after the November elections. Koplinski opposes the tax increase.
City Controller Dan Miller already said he plans to run to mayor.
The Senate hearing is now scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 4 in hearing room 1 at the North Office building of the State Capitol complex.