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Lancaster waste authority hopes to take over Harrisburg incinerator by fall

By , - Last modified: July 31, 2012 at 9:42 AM
Harrisburg's incinerator has tallied at least $326 million of the city's debt.
Harrisburg's incinerator has tallied at least $326 million of the city's debt.

There may not be a defined timeline to deal with Harrisburg's primary assets, but the process is moving forward as the state-controlled capital city navigates its way out of debt.

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority, or LCSWMA — a month after being named the exclusive negotiating partner to buy the city's troubled incinerator — said Monday it hopes to take possession of the trash-burning facility in mid- to late fall.

"We've had several positive meetings and are making excellent progress with regards to the purchase," said Kathryn Sandoe, an authority spokeswoman.

The sale of the incinerator, which has tallied at least $326 million of debt, is contingent upon many other factors surrounding the sale or lease of other assets — namely, the parking garages — and debt settlement with the city's creditors.

Last week, Harrisburg receiver William Lynch narrowed his list to four firms to negotiate with over the lease and possible sale of the garages.

Bringing in an outside party to manage water and wastewater assets also is part of the court-approved recovery plan. That list was at four firms in April.

"We're confident in the progress we've made and look forward to bringing regionalization to Lancaster and Dauphin counties," Sandoe said.

LCSWMA was chosen over Florida-based Cambridge Project Development Inc.

The authority has been pursuing the incinerator longer than anyone else. Prior to the state receivership process, it had publicly announced offers of $45 million and $124 million to buy the incinerator.

The larger number was aided by $62 million in concessions from Dauphin County through graduated tipping-fee increases and other incinerator costs, including off-site ash disposal.

The county and bond insurer Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. are the primary backers of the city's incinerator debt.

LCSWMA has not said how much it is willing to pay for the Harrisburg facility. However, the authority does expect the regional approach would generate about 1 million tons of solid waste per year and about $87 million in total revenue.

The authority plans to spend at least $16 million on facility improvements, CEO Jim Warner has said.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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