Harrisburg City Council Slams Receiver For Health Officer Exit

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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

HARRISBURG – The capital city’s restaurants might not be inspected during the next year because officials won’t spend $10,000.

That is, at least, the contention of some Harrisburg City Council members who blamed receiver William Lynch for losing a highly competent health officer to a better-paying post in a neighboring municipality.

Lynch was appointed to guide Harrisburg through the Act 47 recovery process brought on by the municipality’s $370 million debt and operating deficit.

For months, Lynch, his team, elected officials and city administration have presented a united front as they negotiate lower-cost deals with bondholders and city unions, as well as the sale of the incinerator and lease of public parking garages.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/06/harrisburg_city_council_slams.html#incart_m-rpt-1

Harrisburg Leaders Believe Bankruptcy Is Inevitable For City

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Image via Wikipedia

Editor’s note:  How very sad that the capital city of this great Commonwealth has deteriorated to this extent!

The Patriot-News Editorial Board met Thursday with City Controller Dan Miller, Council President Wanda Williams and City Treasurer John Campbell.  Below is an excerpt of the conversation.

Q: Where do things stand in the city now?
Dan Miller: We’re going into bankruptcy.  The question is will we have the assets or won’t we have the assets [when we do].  Just because we adopt a plan, that’s not going to solve the problem.  I think [receiver] David Unkovic knows the same thing.

Wanda Williams: I had an opportunity to talk to Jefferson County, Ala., officials last weekend.  They tried to derive a plan there similar to Unkovic’s, but the people were up in arms and they said no, we are not going to allow you to sell our assets.  What you’re going to do is sell our assets and we’re going to be left with nothing, and we’ve been telling Unkovic that.  Where do you derive the revenue from after you sell all our assets?  Now Jefferson County has filed bankruptcy, and the judge is making that determination.  Their assets are safe for the time being. I see this as a ploy — Gov. Corbett has asked [Unkovic] to come in and do a plan, but in the interim, we’re going to be selling assets and filing for bankruptcy.

 Q: How significant was the city’s general obligation default on March 15?
Miller: I suspect we’re not paying any more debt for the rest of the year. I’m not the decision maker, but if you’re not going to pay it now, you’re not going to pay it anymore.  Unkovic is projecting a $9.5 million deficit.  I’m calculating $15 million.  We’re both acknowledging it’s a big deficit for this year.  Our general debt service is about $11 million a year.  Even if you sell the assets, it’s not going to impact the budget. We’re out of money.

Read more:http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2012/03/harrisburg_leaders_believe_ban.html

Harrisburg City Council Opts For Transparency With Act 47 Meeting

Pennsylvania’s capital city officially entered Act 47 in December, thereby officially making Harrisburg a “financially distressed” municipality and eligible for state help to emerge from their enormous debt, caused by the retrofit of the Harrisburg incinerator.

Four Harrisburg City Council members publically declined a “private” meeting with the new “Act 47 financial guru’s” today.  Council members objected to private meetings with the Act 47 taxpayer-paid team.  The meeting was characterized as a “get to know each other” routine introduction by officials from the Department of Community and Economic Development.  To get around the open meeting requirements, “Sunshine Law”, the meetings were to take place with three or fewer members of Council at a time. 

These four courageous councilors feel the process is too important to not involve residents of Harrisburg.  The public should have the opportunity to hear the information as it is delivered to Council.

We give two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Harrisburg City Council’s observance of the Sunshine Law and transparency in city government.  Harrisburg has a long road ahead to get out from under the incinerator debt.  The public deserves the courtesy of open meetings when this important issue is discussed.