Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is broke. Broke enough to file for federal bankruptcy BECAUSE they invested heavily in the expansion and updating of a “trash-to-energy incinerator” that doesn’t produce nearly enough revenue to keep it running. Dollars down the toitty.
The state capital of 49,500 faces a debt burden five times its general-fund budget because of an overhaul and expansion of a trash-to-energy incinerator that doesn’t generate enough revenue.
“This was a last resort,” Schwartz said in an interview after the council voted 4-3 to seek bankruptcy protection. “They’re at their wits end.”
While bankruptcy would mean the loss of state aid under a law passed in June, it’s preferable to a proposed recovery plan, said Councilwoman Susan Brown-Wilson.
The sad saga of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s money-burning trash incinerator is only the latest in a long line of woeful tales heard ever since the “garbage crisis” and “rush to burn” of the 1980s. You may recall the infamous “garbage barge” from Islip, NY adrift on a worldwide cruise in search of a port willing to receive its refuse. That story and related “garbage crisis” hysteria whipped up by purveyors of incinerator technology led many communities around the country to make commitments similar to Harrisburg’s more recent one (a $125 million rebuild of an already-costly burner from the 1970s).
The Clean Water Blog argues that recycling is a much better option than burning.
A spokesman voting for bankruptcy said the insurer, Assured Guaranty Municipal Corporation should lower it’s debt and should not be first in the bankruptcy for a payout. The insurer made payments on the “waste-to-energy facility” for Harrisburg when it could not meet it’s obligations. Yep, it’s a city run by proper Liberals. He also expects bondholders to pitch-in, and between them and the insurer, he wants $100 Million in debt to be forgiven. The plan is to tax the people with a 1% sales tax to pay down the debt. Read more at BusinessWeek.