(Harrisburg) -- As promised, a Commonwealth Court judge has signed an order approving the state-appointed receiver's financial recovery plan for the city of Harrisburg.
Commonwealth Court Judge Bonnie Leadbetter had already signaled her intent at the conclusion of last week's two-hour hearing, but Harrisburg Receiver's Office spokesman Cory Angell says the confirmation allows for the details within the plan to be finalized.
"The big thing here is that we're going to continue to move forward and this process will take us into November, where we will have what is essentially a closing on all these deals and that will be the actual enactment of the plan," Angell explains.
The plan, which has been dubbed Harrisburg Strong, calls for the sale of Harrisburg's debt-laden trash incinerator and a 40 year lease of the city's parking assets. The parking lease will be structured to generate a steady revenue stream that will allow the city to balance its budget into the future. Property taxes will remain unchanged, but the additional one percent earned income tax that city residents are paying will continue through at least 2016.
Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski says all he's ever wanted is a global solution with shared pain. He says the Harrisburg Strong plan may not be perfect, but it meets those two criteria.
"So while I was against the receiver in theory -- in actuality he has been fair, he has been honest and put together a good plan," Koplinski explains. "The difference is that city council was involved from the very beginning of the formulation of the plan."
Governor Corbett issued a statement, Monday, expressing his optimism that Harrisburg will be a success story and serve as an example to other distressed cities of how to find a way to fiscal recovery.
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