Harrisburg looking to lease incinerator, parking by June

A state-appointed receiver issued a report calling on debt-ridden Harrisburg to lease or sell its waste incinerator as well as move forward with a parking concession – and fast. Privatising each asset has been a long-running debate for the state capital.

A several-hundred-page plan to stave off a fiscal free fall in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is pressing for a quick lease or sale of its waste incinerator as well as a concession of its parking garages.

State-appointed receiver David Unkovic in presenting his outline to stabilise Harrisburg called for a deal on the incinerator to be reached no later than June. “This is an aggressive schedule, but time is of the essence,” Unkovic stressed in his report Monday.

The incinerator has been blamed as the biggest detriment to the financial health of the state capital, responsible for $310 million of debt. Harrisburg itself has a total debt pile of $410 million.

Unkovic also called for a prompt Request for Qualifications (RFQ) or Request for Proposals (RFP) process for a parking concession of the city’s garages.“The financial distress is a very complicated problem,” Unkovic stressed in his report. “It cannot be solved easily or quickly, but it must be solved”.

Harrisburg was placed in state receivership after a failed bid to declare itself bankrupt. Despite the federal court judge ordered receivership, a lease or sale of its waste incinerator and a parking concession, were deemed imminent for Harrisburg.

In 2008, LambaStar Capital made an ill-fated $215 million bid for a parking garage privatisation. LambaStar in 2011 again bid for a parking concession, teaming up with EQT Infrastructure for a deal to also lease or purchase the incinerator.

Each offer was a nonstarter, with a concurrent consultant review promoting a sale of the incinerator, but not to LambaStar.