Harrisburg Happening

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Something's not right in the 'burg

It seems Commerce Bank had approved a $7 million tax and revenue anticipation loan, to be paid back by year end. And layoffs are still on. The Mayor plans on paying off the lone with the sale of artifacts . . . and take out a larger loan to pay off the first one.

Why wouldn't the city have an existing credit line for tax anticipation and revenue anticipation cash flow problems? And why is the Parking Authority using earnings from parking to fund the new pie-in-the-sky Harrisburg University? What promises did the city have to make to get the Commerce loan? How, for example, could they certify that this is a tax and revenue anticipation loan if they are admitting they don't have the money and won't have the money to pay staff? It all makes no sense.



Anonymous Marcus S. Lingenfelter said...

The Harrisburg Parking Authority is not using any revenues to support Harrisburg University or the new Academic Center--quite the contrary. In fact, not a single dollar from the city or the authority has been given to the University during its 5 year history. Rather, the construction of Harrisburg University's new Academic Center provided the Harrisburg Parking Authority with an additional revenue opportunity through the addition of 400 new--revenue producing--parking spaces in the city of Harrisburg. The University itself has guaranteed revenues for as many as 300 of those spots. Therefore, Harrisburg University is providing revenues to the Harrisburg Parking Authority, and by association the city--not the other way around.

Marcus S. Lingenfelter
VP for Advancement
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

November 16, 2006  
Anonymous Marcus S. Lingenfelter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 16, 2006  
Blogger Anniken Davenport, Esquire said...

I'm only reporting what I read in the press. Take it up with wgal and the patriot.

November 16, 2006  
Blogger Anniken Davenport, Esquire said...

Here are some more details on funding, etc:


November 16, 2006  
Blogger Anniken Davenport, Esquire said...

Here's the Patriot news item with the reference to the Parking Authority. So exactly what does it mean to support it, if not to fund it?

Harrisburg University touted as key to economic growth
By John Luciew/The Patriot-News

Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed has had his hand in plenty of projects over the years, but he says Harrisburg University is special because of its far-reaching potential.
It has the chance to touch hundreds of lives by bestowing economic hope — the opportunity for a lifetime of good wages and productivity.
It could become an economic development magnet, drawing high-tech companies to the Harrisburg region, allowing the midstate to retain more young workers and meet the challenges of a changing economy.
In short, Reed said the two-year-old Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and its planned 16-story tower have the potential to transform Harrisburg like nothing he’s proposed before.
But at a time when Harrisburg faces a $6.8 million budget deficit, employee layoffs and a tax increase, Reed said even he sometimes overlooks how much the university, which is being financed separately from the city, stands to contribute.
“It really is major,” he said. “This is the one project that has the best chance to capture the synergy between education and economic development in the city’s history.”
It’s no wonder that the university tapped a federal Labor Department executive, not an educator, to deliver last night’s keynote address for the tower’s groundbreaking at Fourth and Market streets downtown.
Assistant Secretary of Labor Emily Stover DeRocco, a native of Carlisle, did the honors by stressing the science- and technology-themed university’s unique opportunity to build the region’s work force in order to attract and grow high-tech companies in the region.
DeRocco said this “demand driven” work force investment would link employment, education, and economic development and give Harrisburg its best chance to be globally competitive in the 21st century.
Reed and DeRocco were among a gathering of about 325 movers and shakers at last night’s celebration of the start of construction on the university’s academic center. The university is housed currently at Harrisburg’s SciTech High building at 215 Market St.
The new site, a former parking lot, last night was a small village of tents used to house the gala and dinner. But the actual work of preparing the site will begin as early as December.
Completion is scheduled for winter 2008.
University President Melvyn Schiavelli said the new academic center, to be connected to Strawberry Square, would forge an unprecedented collaboration with industries to meet the needs of today’s employers and tomorrow’s companies.
“Fulfilling Harrisburg University’s mission requires a technologically sophisticated teaching space where students can learn new and innovative skills essential to enter science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers,” he said.
He added that the high-profile downtown tower would serve as the area’s anchor for innovation and education, as well as a visual reminder of the university’ role in the region’s economic future.
To make it happen, Schiavelli announced a five-year, $40 capital campaign for the university that would help fund its development and scholarship funds.
Money for the $73 million tower is largely in place, with commitments from the state, the Harrisburg Parking Authority, which will own and operating the building’s 400-space garage, and a bank loan.
Last night, Schiavelli and board of trustees Chairman David Schankweiler also awarded the university’s first honorary degrees to Reed, DeRocco, and attorney Leroy S. Zimmerman.
The tower will include classroom space for up to 1,600 students, capacity to carry the university through the next decade. It would include a library, a 125-seat auditorium, a one-stop-shop student services center, numerous laboratories, first-floor retail and restaurant space, and hundreds of parking spaces.

November 16, 2006  

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