DCED: Harrisburg asset deals may be ready for court in June

Recommendations on asset deals could be brought before Commonwealth Court by the end of June, said Fred Reddig, the temporary administrator of the Office of the Receiver for Harrisburg.

Reddig, who is executive director of the Center for Local Government Services at the state Department of Community and Economic Development, also facilitates meetings for the city’s municipal financial recovery advisory committee. The committee’s role is to advise the receiver.

DCED has been designated to run the office until a new fiscal overseer is confirmed. David Unkovic vacated the post in late March, citing “political and ethical crosswinds.”

The court will hold a hearing at 10:30 a.m. Thursday for his potential replacement. The hearing will be in Courtroom 3001 of the Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg.

Retired United States Air Force Maj. Gen. William B. Lynch is the nominee put forth by DCED under the direction of Gov. Tom Corbett.

Lynch said Wednesday that his biggest challenge has been absorbing the details of the recovery plan.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter in March approved the preliminary plan submitted by Unkovic. The plan includes selling the city’s troubled incinerator, leasing its parking garages and bringing in an outside party to manage water and wastewater assets.

“It’s a real page turner,” Lynch said. “It’s very complicated and there is a lot to it.”

He knows this will not be an easy process, he said.

The court must approve a final plan. The blueprint also is to include favorable concessions from the city’s three unions who have contracts in place through 2014, 2015 and 2016 and agreements with creditors.

Harrisburg is saddled with more than $326 million of incinerator debt and faces annual structural deficits with revenue failing to keep pace with expenses. The city faces a year-end deficit of about $6.8 million, Reddig said.

Related news: Harrisburg City Council confirms COO appointment

Jason Scott
Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin and Cumberland counties. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com.

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