Harrisburg City Council okays parking garage deal - abc27 WHTM

Harrisburg City Council gives final approval to lease parking garages

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Harrisburg City Council has signed off on a deal to lease the city's parking garages, which is a huge part of the city's Harrisburg Strong recovery plan.

Council voted 7-0 Tuesday night on the agreement, which is expected to wipe out $491 million of the city's debt.

"This is probably the only time in my lifetime where I get to say we're going to move $491 million worth of debt" councilwoman Sandra Reid said.

But Council members have been expressing their concerns about what they might be giving up. Councilwoman Susan Brown-Wilson says residents are still bearing the brunt of the solution.

"While some might view it as historical, it is something that puts a bad taste in our mouth because we know we have to do something," she said. "We would be reckless and irresponsible if we did not move forward."

"There was a lot of reservations about some of the fees," Council President Wanda Williams said. "There was also reservations about parking issues. Several amendments we got at the last hour that we were concerned about."

State-appointed Receiver William Lynch applauded Council's move.

"From the comments I think you can get the sense that it's not easy and it's not easy," he said. "I think they showed a significant amount of political courage tonight."

Council members were concerned if there was anything in the agreement that would hurt them down the road.

"It's a building of trust," Lynch said. "Very difficult. I don't care who you are. Normal people can not sift through a mountain of documents and lawyers' opinions and that kind of stuff."

The leasing agreement is with the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority.


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