Harrisburg receiver now expects asset deals in second quarter
Harrisburg receiver William Lynch said today that completion of asset deals involving the city's troubled incinerator and its parking system are likely to get done in the second quarter.
The goal at the end of last year and even earlier this year had been completion of the deals by the end of the first quarter.
"Everything takes longer than you think," Lynch said.
Negotiations continue with the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority on the waste-to-energy facility and Harrisburg First on the parking, officials said this morning at a city recovery advisory committee meeting.
A power purchase agreement with the state Department of General Services — a critical piece of the incinerator deal — is in the contract phase, said Fred Reddig, executive director of the Governor's Center for Local Government Services at the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
That deal is said to be for 20 years.
The electricity deal helps establish a final valuation for the incinerator and enables a tax-free bond issuance, officials have said. The latter means a low interest rate and the highest possible valuation for the facility.
Meanwhile, a multiyear agreement with the commonwealth on parking spaces is being crafted. More guaranteed spaces means significantly more value in the parking assets, Reddig said.
The commonwealth is looking at taking about 4,000 spaces, he said.
Lynch said the end of April when asked about his goal for a comprehensive "head nod" agreement. It could be June until deals are fully executed, he said.
A Commonwealth Court judge needs to sign off on the deals, which are part of the city's court-approved recovery plan. Harrisburg has more than $340 million of incinerator debt.
In related city news, Reddig said pre-planning has begun on an update of the city's comprehensive plan.
A consultant, Mullin & Lonergan Associates Inc., has been hired by the city to develop the scope of that work, he said.
Related to that are housing and economic development strategies, he said.
The comp plan will drive the other two, he said, hoping to begin the public process by this summer.
"It's so important for the future of the city," Councilman Bruce Weber said about the pending update of the 40-year-old comp plan.
Community development would help the city's coffers. Harrisburg will have a cash balance of about $5.7 million after a check run this week, Reddig said.
Annual cash flow should be solid through July or August, Reddig said. The city could be back in the red by the late summer months or fall, he added.