Harrisburg Set to Exit Pennsylvania’s First City Receivership

Pennsylvania may ask a court as soon as today to remove its capital, Harrisburg, from receivership, said Cory Angell, a spokesman for William B. Lynch, the city’s state-appointed fiscal overseer.

After officials file a request with Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court, the city may exit Pennsylvania’s first and only municipal receivership within weeks, Angell said.

Harrisburg last month cleared its debt burden of $362.5 million, about seven times its general-fund budget, through the sale and lease of assets and concessions from creditors.

“The debt load is off the city and the budget is balanced for the next four years,” Angell said. “It’s a renaissance for the city of Harrisburg.”

Harrisburg would remain in the state’s program for distressed municipalities, known as Act 47, he said.

The plight of the community of 50,000 stemmed from an overhaul and expansion of an incinerator that didn’t generate enough revenue to cover the debt. Surrounding Dauphin County and bond insurer Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. (AGO), the biggest creditors, made incinerator debt payments after the city started skipping them in 2009.

Harrisburg attempted a bankruptcy filing in 2011 and was later that year placed under receivership by the state.

To contact the reporter on this story: Romy Varghese in Philadelphia at rvarghese8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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