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popping debt total is just one piece of city's bleak financial puzzle
It almost impossible to say exactly how much money the elected and appointed officials of Harrisburg have borrowed.Missing financial audits, complicated transactions and intertwining finances create a labyrinth of money that stretches decades into Harrisburg history.View full sizeSEAN SIMMERS, The Patriot News, 2008The Harrisburg skyline, as seen from the Fulton Bank sign in the city.At best estimates, based upon reviews of independent reports and audited financial statements, the amount of debt owed by the city and its affiliated entities with interest stands somewhere north of $1.5 billion.That roughly $30,285 for each of the 49,528 men, women and children living in the city and almost twice the income of the average city resident.By comparison, in suburban Lower Paxton Township, which has roughly the same population as Harrisburg, the debt per resident including their portion of Central Dauphin School District is about $5,000 per person.The bill won come due tomorrow, or even next year. But it represents a slow drain on the city coffers that stretches out for another 20 years or more.Some of the outstanding debts for parking garages, sewage systems and building projects Black Rolex Daytona Price
property in the city dropped by more than $30 million, according to a school district report.Meanwhile, each time property taxes increase, fewer people pay them. According to a school district report, property tax collection rates have fallen from 87 percent to 83 percent.Huge Guess Bags Wallet Sets
swaths of the city are owned by tax exempt organizations including state government. Together they account for 49 percent of the city tax base.Against that backdrop, for decades the entities that comprise the city government borrowed money to improve schools, to renovate City Island and build and maintain parking garages. Water and sewer projects were also funded by debt, as they would be in any other municipality.But sometimes good intentions go awry, and eventually city officials began borrowing money to pay off borrowed money, deferring payments for as long as possible. And behind the scenes the city financial advisers, lawyers and bond issuers racked up millions in fees, skimmed off the top of each bond issue.Increased borrowing on top of bad debt and a botched retrofit project caused the Harrisburg incinerator debt to spiral to nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.View full sizePAUL CHAPLIN, The Patriot News/fileThe Harrisburg Incinerator on South 19th Street.It stands at the heart of the city fiscal crisis, carrying about $326 million in debt, according to state Department of Community and Economic Development estimates.But while the incinerator has received the most attention, it is not the only millstone hanging around the city neck.
are designed to pay for themselves through fees, leases or public use costs.In other cases, the bills cannot be paid.While the amount of debt is eye popping, it is only one piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is the city bleak financial background.It does not account for past due debt payments or unfunded pension and healthcare obligations. Nor does it include the Prada Bag Green estimated annual deficits in the city and school district budgets, which this year are so far estimated at $6.8 million for the city and at least $7 million for the school district, even with drastic cuts such as eliminating kindergarten.The schools are facing unprecedented cuts as the district tries to close a massive budget deficit, while the city is running out of cash and could do so before the end of the year.A declining tax base contributes to the overall problem between 2009 and 2012, the assessed value of Rolex Daytona 2017 Platinum
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