On May 5, 2008, Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed announced a plan to lease the parking resources of the City of Harrisburg for 75 years in an unprecedented public-private partnership. The title of the press release was as follows (link):
MAYOR PROPOSES MAJOR TAX REBATES, TAX RATE CUTS; ELIMINATION OF MOST CITY DEBT, HIRING OF ADDITIONAL POLICE OFFICERS, MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL, CODES INSPECTORS AND LAUNCH OF FIRST-EVER NEIGHBORHOOD BLIGHT SQUAD
From the moment the announcement was made, Reed did not want this to be about the lease; he wanted this to be about his “comprehensive financial plan”. The lease of the parking resources is the coin purse to fund that plan.
Harrisburg is in financial distress, and the city would benefit greatly from all of the positive elements included in Reed’s plan. Perhaps the parking resource lease is the best way to fund Harrisburg’s fiscal recovery. This is a decision that should not be left to the mayor alone.
Reed’s actions to date indicate that he wants to see the parking resource lease accepted quickly and with little discussion. The editors of this blog believe such a course is a mistake. Only through deliberate and active discussion can the entire community come to agreement on the best way to manage Harrisburg’s financial issues.
This blog aims to be both an incubator and a repository of that discussion.