Cleveland Incinerator

How a city goes broke

HARRISBURG, PA — Eric Papenfuse owns a bookstore in Harrisburg, Pa. He used to be on the city agency in charge of basic municipal services — sewer, water, trash.

He’s giving me a tour of the town, known mainly these days for having more debt per resident than any other city in the country. The city got into so much debt because of the way it deals with garbage. So, Papenfuse drives me out to the edge of town to see the trash incinerator that sunk the city.

‘Welcome to the almost-$350-million-in-debt Harrisburg incinerator,’ he says.

Garbage trucks are pulling in and dumping huge mounds of trash. The trucks have to pay a fee to leave their trash here. Those fees were supposed to pay for the incinerator. It didn’t work out that way.

— Zoe Chace, NPR

Read the whole story here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/03/23/149057880/how-a-city-goes-broke

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