10 Years Later, Is Pittsburgh Really Climbing Out Of The Red?

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ten years and four months ago, then-Mayor Tom Murphy stood before a cadre of media to deliver grim news.

By the time he stepped up to speak, eyes moistened with tears, Pittsburgh city government had been sputtering along like an airplane held together by duct tape, according to a former finance director. But now the plane was about to take a nose dive — with the possibility of bankruptcy hovering.

“I hate doing this,” Mr. Murphy told the reporters.

He announced plans to lay off 731 city workers — including police officers — and leave hundreds more positions unfilled. All but six city pools would be drained and closed early — along with 19 recreation centers that were, in many places, critical gathering spots for sports and community events. Later that year, the city’s credit rating would be downgraded, making it the only major American city whose debt was rated “junk.” A fifth of the city’s budget went to pay off old debt.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2013/12/29/10-years-later-is-Pittsburgh-really-climbing-out-of-the-red/stories/201312290057#ixzz2or2K9BKS

$10M Borrowing Next Step In Renovation Project For Pottstown Schools

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — With the remaining construction now underway at three elementary schools, the Pottstown School Board is expected to vote at Monday night’s meeting to borrow another $10 million to pay for the project.

The board is expected to authorize the preparation of the bond documents at Monday’s meeting and the auction will occur on Oct. 21, said board member Dennis Wausnock, chairman of the school board’s finance committee.

Work on Franklin, Lincoln and Rupert elementary schools began in May and continues with students back in Lincoln and Franklin and the population of Rupert being taught in the vacant Edgewood Elementary building, which was officially closed in June.

Barth Elementary School, which was officially re-dedicated in a ceremony Saturday, was the first school to be renovated although, unlike the other three, it was not expanded.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/social-affairs/20130921/10m-borrowing-next-step-in-renovation-project-for-pottstown-schools

Harrisburg Has Paid More Than $630K In Debt Service On $3.795M Capitol View Loan

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG. PA – More than $630,000 in city grant funds have been diverted to repay a federal loan for the failed Capitol View project whose bankrupt developer awaits sentencing for fraud.

City officials say they’re hoping David Dodd’s sentence includes some restitution for Harrisburg, which guaranteed a $3.795 million federal loan for the project in 2006 that Dodd never repaid.

Between that, unpaid property taxes and another unpaid loan from the former Mayor’s Office of Economic Development program, Dodd’s project has become a $5 million liability for the city.

That amount doesn’t include city legal bills from engaging in his bankruptcy and fraud proceedings, or to defend the city against lawsuits from contractors never paid for their work on the $28 million project.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/harrisburg_paid_all_630k_of_de.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Montgomery County Issues $55M In Bonds For Infrastructure Projects

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN — The Montgomery County Commissioners issued $55 million in bonds this week to address some county infrastructure projects.

While it does not address every item on a long laundry list of infrastructure needs throughout the county, the issuance of the bond addresses a good part of those needs without increasing the county’s current debt service over the next decade, according to the county’s top money manager.

“The bond sale received strong interest from underwriting firms with 10 banks submitting aggressive bids,” said Uri Monson, the county’s chief financial officer.

The commissioners approved the bond ordinance last month. Monson said the bonds were sold through a competitive sale process via an online bid service.  The winning bidder was PNC Capital Markets, with a True Interest Cost (TIC) of 2.39 percent.  The reported difference between the lowest bid and the next lowest bid was .017 percent.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130405/NEWS01/130409500/montgomery-county-issues-55m-in-bonds-for-infrastructure-projects#full_story

Altoona Area School District Finalizes Bonds

Map of Blair County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Blair County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Altoona Area School District recently refinanced a bond series of $46 million for a net interest savings of more than $2 million.

The district’s favorable A-plus credit rating achieved by years of good financial management, a Standard and Poor’s rating services report stated, is one reason the district was able to reduce the original 4.36 percent interest rate and obtain the savings.

Market conditions providing 40-year low bond interest rates were another reason.

“The savings are higher than the estimate we had in September,” Business Manager Michelle Krebs said.

Read more:  http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/566933/Altoona-finalizes-bonds.html?nav=742

Reading School District Budget Outlook Not Good

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Reading School District isn’t likely to get any relief from the financial straits that have led the district to cut programs, layoff staff and close schools.

Robert Peters, the district’s chief financial officer, provided the school board with an initial overview of the district’s 2013-14 budget process at a meeting Wednesday night. And the outlook doesn’t appear good.

The district, like others across the state, will yet again be facing increasing expenses with little hope of jumps in revenue.

Peters said increases in pension contributions will probably cost the district about an extra $2.5 million next year, and health care costs will likely increase somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=421733