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Harrisburg mayor gives last State of the City Address

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Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson gave her last State of the City Address Friday morning, at one point tearfully thanking the community.

“I thank you for this opportunity to serve the city that I love, a city in which I was born, a city that raised me, educated me,” said Thompson.

Thompson was elected in 2009 but lost the Democratic primary in May to Midtown Scholar Bookstore owner Eric Papenfuse.

During her speech, she emphasized the work done to create the Harrisburg Strong Plan, which is aimed at erasing the city’s $362 million incinerator debt and creating a balanced budget.

“Harrisburg set the standard for emergency financial management without turning to the bankruptcy court,” said Thompson.

She added she believes the city has taken an economic hit during the federal government shutdown.  However, she said it’s unclear to what extent the shutdown has impacted the city.

The city’s receiver, Maj. Gen. William Lynch, joined Thompson at the Harrisburg Hilton. While the shutdown concerns him, he said he’s more worried about the potential for the country to default on its debt. Much of the Harrisburg Strong Plan that he crafted relies on favorable bond market conditions.

“And, if the interest rates go in the wrong direction, it costs more to market the bonds, which means there’s less money on the table,” said Lynch.

Lynch was also asked about the potential for the city still to end up in bankruptcy. He said, “It’s not a last resort option. I can see situations where we would be pushed over that cliff by forces we can’t control, the bond market, for example.”

As for Thompson’s future come January she said, “I have not thought about my plans yet. I’m still the mayor, and I’m still working on getting all my work done as mayor.”