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Harrisburg leaders and state lawmakers moving forward in wake of incinerator report

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HARRISBURG - Both city leaders and state lawmakers are moving forward after a grand jury investigation on the city's incinerator.

Officials expressed disappointment that no criminal charges would be brought against those responsible for the deals, but are looking to turn the page.

In the city's case, that means attempting to recoup millions of dollars in civil damages now that the criminal phase of the investigation is over.

"Enough of a record has been established with the forensic audit the Harrisburg Authority did, the Senate hearings, the grand jury investigation," Mayor Eric Papenfuse said. "There is enough data now to support millions of dollars in civil claims."

There are also multiple efforts by state lawmakers to enact the reforms recommended by the grand jury.

Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) says she is working with the Attorney General's office to draft a series of bills on the matter.

"Unfortunately, Harrisburg is the poster child of this type of corruption and so I would like to see the city of Harrisburg take charge with myself in some of the reforms that the grand jury recommended for us," she said.

Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), who was part of the Senate panel that investigated the city and business leaders involved in the incinerator deals, is taking charge of the effort in the Senate.

A news conference unveiling the panel's efforts is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

"We tried to move these reform bills last session and we just couldn't get them for various reasons to the finish line," he said. "Now we have this and it's showing us [the way forward]."