As far as the Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development is concerned, Harrisburg's extreme financial emergency is over.
Attorneys for the DCED filed an application Thursday in Commonwealth Court to vacate the receivership, which was installed in 2011 to lead the city’s government through more than $360 million in debt.
With the city’s implementation of its Strong Plan underway — including selling off the city’s incinerator and leasing its parking system — the DCED no longer considers it necessary to keep the receivership in place.
“Vacating the receivership and appointing a coordinator is a necessary and critical step in moving the Harrisburg Strong Plan forward,” DCED Secretary Alan Walker said in a news release. “After decades of financial difficulties and nearly three years of fiscal emergency, this action represents the next step in Harrisburg’s path to fiscal stability.”
Joshua Maus, spokesman for the Office of General Counsel, said the state expects to hear a court decision in about two weeks. The state filed the paperwork with Judge Bonnie B. Leadbetter.
Cory Angell, spokesman for the Office of the Receiver in Harrisburg, said that, if the application is expedited, the receivership could be dissolved as early as late January or early February.
If the receivership ends, it would remove the emergency status of the city, but not the Act 47 status as a distressed city, Angell said. It would remove William Lynch as the city’s receiver and allow the city’s leadership to govern itself.
Under Act 47, the city would still have a state administrator to ensure the terms of the court-approved Strong Plan are being carried out.
Included in Thursday’s application to vacate the receivership is the appointment of Fred Reddig as the coordinator. Reddig would start March 1 and, according to a state news release, he has been “intimately involved in the management of Harrisburg’s Act 47 participation since its initial Act 47 application in 2010.”
In November, Leadbetter extended the receivership for two years as it was set to expire Dec. 1. That was prior to the incinerator and parking deals being struck.