A state board has postponed a vote on an estimated $270 million parking lease deal for Harrisburg, one of two centerpiece transactions to a recovery plan in Pennsylvania’s capital.
The Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority’s board called off Tuesday’s scheduled meeting in Harrisburg.
“This is a complex transaction and, as such, PEDFA is still finalizing the documents that are needed to complete the transaction,” said Steven Kratz, communications director for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, which oversees PEDFA. “The continuation of PEDFA meetings is routine when dealing with complex financial matters,” said Kratz.
According to Kratz, the authority has yet to reschedule.
State-appointed receiver William Lynch and his advisory team want to price bonds related to a lease of parking assets, and the sale of the city’s incinerator to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority. Both are essential to a plan that would relieve Harrisburg of more than $600 million of crippling debt, according to Lynch.
Lynch’s team wants to complete the bond sales by year’s end, while interest rates remain low and before the city encounters another expected cash crunch by December and January.
The Lancaster authority expects to price $132 million of tax-exempt revenue bonds on Dec. 4 and 5.
Under the 40-year lease of parking garages, spaces and street meters to Harrisburg First, a consortium consisting of Guggenheim Securities, Piper Jaffray & Co., Standard Parking Corp. and Trimont Real Estate Advisors, PEDFA would issue $270 million worth of bonds.
The Harrisburg Parking Authority, also on Tuesday, agreed to several procedural matters related to the asset transfer.
Bond proceeds would repay creditors and relieve the city of what outgoing Mayor Linda Thompson’s chief of staff, Robert Philbin, called “near-term malingering structural deficit.” It would also fund economic development initiatives.
Philbin -- not Thompson, whose relations with the City Council have been prickly over four years -- delivered the proposed 2014 budget to the council on Tuesday night. Thompson, who served one four-year term before losing to Eric Papenfuse in the Democratic primary, will surrender the mayor’s office to Papenfuse on Jan. 1.
“Little surprise that the mayor’s not here tonight,” said council president Wanda Williams. Thompson had delivered previous budget proposals herself.
The proposed budget hinges on final approval of Lynch’s so-called Harrisburg Strong plan. The council must approve the budget.
Philbin said the budget assumes debt reductions under the recovery plan, but assumes no cash from it.
According to Philbin, revenues amount to $78.2 million, down 51% and expenses are $77.8 million, down 55%. The spending plan calls for no new taxes.