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Skepticism surrounds incinerator sale - abc27 WHTM

Skepticism surrounds incinerator sale

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Is the sale of the incinerator the answer to all of Harrisburg's financial problems?

There are those who have their doubts. Can it really be that easy?

"Accept the gift we've given you," Mayor Linda Thompson said Wednesday at a news conference, addressing the next administration. "The city is out of debt, and we hope you keep us out of debt so we can remain the model of the world."

But there are those in the city who are not as euphoric about what happened, assuming - said City Controller Dan Miller - that anything actually did happen.

"It's sort of much ado about nothing," Miller said. "We haven't seen anything new. It's the same thing we've heard all along and we've seen no details."

The deal is not final and no details have been released about how much the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority would pay for the Harrisburg incinerator.

Back on March 11, 2011, abc27 reported that the authority offered $45 million for the incinerator. That was called a lowball effort by those connected with the city. But is it even close to Harrisburg's total debt?

"I'm really skeptical this will wipe out our debt," said Miller. "And I'm very skeptical they're going to be able to balance the budget."

Miller said the city actually has $640 million of debt in the form of notes and bonds. It also has $180 million in unfunded debt to pay health care for current and retired employees. That totals $820 million.

Miller still maintains that bankruptcy is the way to go, which, among other things, would give the city leverage in reworking union contracts.

"I mean they're very over generous," Miller said. "Every consultant that has come in here has said that. We haven't gotten any real concessions. They're not going to take much of an increase in the future. Well, that's not much of a savings."

 

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