Harrisburg to miss September debt service payments

Sept 11 Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:48pm EDT

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Sept 11 (Reuters) - The cash-strapped city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will not make $3.5 million of debt service payments due in September, the receiver for the city said on Wednesday, bringing its total skipped payments to more than $17 million.

The state capital filed for bankruptcy in 2011 but state lawmakers barred it, and it has not paid its general obligation debt service since March 2012.

The latest missed payments were anticipated by the city's revised recovery plan in August, which must still be approved by a court. Upgrades and repairs to Harrisburg's incinerator left the city drowning in more than $362 million in debt.

The missed payments, which are due Sept. 15, are for $1.8 million and $1.7 million due on the city's 1997 general obligation refunding bonds and notes.

Ambac Assurance Corp insures both principal and interest on the debt. Ambac has been paying GO bondholders since March 2012, when the city began defaulting on its debt service.

In the revised recovery plan put out by Harrisburg's state-appointed receiver last month, Ambac agreed to let the city stretch out its bond repayment schedule for up to 10 more years.

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