Instead of holding the traditional inaugural ball, Harrisburg, Pa., Mayor-elect Eric Papenfuse (D) will work with supporters to rehabilitate government facilities in his financially struggling city.

Papenfuse said holding a black tie event while Harrisburg suffers financial woes would send the wrong message, according to the Associated Press. Instead, he is asking supporters to donate money to a new fund set up for necessary maintenance and restoration of City Hall and the city’s pubic safety building, according to PennLive.

In a statement released Dec. 27, Papenfuse said the city’s facilities are in need of roof repairs, new flooring and communications technology upgrades. There is no money in the city budget for such actions, PennLive reports.

“We think a simple swearing-in ceremony without undue pomp is the right message to send at this time in Harrisburg's history,” Papenfuse said in his statement.

Harrisburg carries around a $1 billion of debt, mostly incurred over bonds issued to pay for new parking facilities and a trash-burning power plant, according to The Patriot News. The AP reports the city had its finances taken over by the state in 2011.

"We want to engage volunteers as much as possible in this effort [to rehabilitate the facilities]," Papenfuse said in his statement. "City Hall should be a focus of pride for our community and provide an example of cleanliness and beauty."

For information on how to help, contact Joyce M. Davis at: mayorelectpapenfuse@gmail.com; or call 717-649-2090.

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