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PghUSA

Pro-consolidation article with great points.

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Pittsburgh City Paper really hit the nail on the head here, I seem to recall all the cowboys on THAT other board (trib) that kept whining on how "unfair" it was to pay for a city when they lived in the burbs, so instead they pay for 2 "oversight" boards to sue the city which is getting bailed out by the state anyway. Just consolidate already! jeez!

Outgoing Mayor Tom Murphy is fond of arguing that the city’s population is still 600,000 people -- at least part of the time. The mayor’s office estimates that as many as 270,000 commuters come into the city to work; during that time they naturally expect the basic services residents require: rapid fire and police service, working street lights. But commuters don’t pay as much for those services.
Here's how the stupidity of the suburbanites are actually COSTING THEM MORE in not consolidating then just to consolidate and outvote the urbanites by 3 to 1! The ICA and Act 47 folks are the two state taxpayer funded boards to "straighten ou the city" which is itself dipping into state funds, so in essence instead of just consolidating and paying just a tad more for a TON more metro voice and vote, they will pay double a Pittsburgh's mayor salary to one board chief, pay for two whole boards and help the city counter sue the boards which sued the city! Just consolidate already!

But the ICA’s credentials have so far proven suspect: Its executive director earns $168,000 a year, almost twice what the mayor himself earns. Meanwhile, the ICA has sued the city and the Act 47 folks over a dispute involving the firefighters contract. Since all these parties are public agencies, you and I are paying both to sue the city and to defend the city from the suit. According to a June 25 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story, the lawsuit’s cost is at least $800,000 already.

http://www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws/views/st...0Had%20to%20Ask

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Great points, but tell it to Joe Schmoe in Etna, who labors under the bizarre belief that he doesn't need the city.

I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard "MY town is run efficiently!" To which I would like to reply: YOUR town gets most of its tax revenue from people who work in the city. YOUR town only has residents because it's a suburb of the city. YOUR town doesn't have museums, a cultural district, pro sports teams, a convention center, or universities.

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^^strange that you brought up Etna I know some people up there that were surprised, heck they were SHOCKED that they weren't a part of Pittsburgh, "my address is Pittsburgh", just goes to show the level of ignorance on how much the old ways are costing us big time!

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While consolidation will be a more efficient way of running government, it doesn't change the fact that current population trends favor growth of Cranberry Township and other such areas outside of Allegheny County.

A study done by the Hopkins institute on the Baltimore area shows that not only has Baltimore been experiencing flight from the city, poor schools, high poverty levels, etc, but now Baltimore County itself is now experiencing the same problems as the city. People continue to move to the outer suburbs as the inner suburbs begin to suffer the same problems as the city.

Although Pittsburgh is different from Baltimore in that it does not have the same level of poverty and is not the heroin capitol, consolidation does not change people's attitudes and the culture of the area will remain such that people will move to the outer suburbs. Of course we have seen Penn Hills decline and people with money will continue to move to Cranberry.

Consolidation is a good fix for Allegheny County and Pittsburgh but the area really needs a cultural change. I have talked to many people that live in the suburbs and they say "gas is too much", "I can't park my car anywhere", "there are hoodlums" blah blah but take anyone else from any other city and they would be glad to make Pittsburgh their home because suburban Pittsburghers blow the negatives way out of proportion. I think maybe the upcoming generation of kids that grow up in the suburbs will realize that all of these things their parents have- big prefabbed house, sprawling yard, gas hog Chevy Avalanche- are all quite silly and quality of life is better in the city- even if you have to send your kids to private school.

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Then the next issue is -- consolidation of the county government with the city might be a beneficial to Pittsburgh as far as efficiency is concerned, but how do you think having suburban voters affect the makeup and agenda of the new consolidated government, especially if those suburban municipalities end up consolidating with the city/county? It would seem that it would give the new government a suburban slant and could potentially hurt the interests of the original city in the long term.

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^^excellent point, I keep mentioning to all the suburbanites that once consolidated you will have REPRESENTATION, but I doubt the burbs even while outnumbering the urbans by close to 3 to 1 will move the downtown away from the point, they WILL force responsibility and good government but think about it, it is almost like joining the original 13 colonies, no one colony will take prominence, each will have a pretty much equal voice but no one suburb will change the orbit of the region, in fact since Pittsburgh is the crossroads and center of all of them the downtown region would gain the most as the "compromise" location halfway between the powerful Monroeville and Sewickley, the Wexford and the Upper Saint Clair, being that downtown already has all the infrastructure on hand with no "start up costs" and it is pretty much ready to build only adds to the fact that we should get the best of both worlds, a well run region that pours into a already built and ready to go urban core, with representation that ensures no dirty dealings in the shadows of Grant Street. That is my dream anyway.

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I don't think many of the better off communities will go for consolidation, however. While there may be tax savings, many of them don't really care. So the cost/benefit analysis doesn't work in thier favor.

Perhaps there should be a push first for the city to annex smaller struggling municipalities as well as those not so struggling but which hvae more to gain from consolidation. I'm talking about places like Dormont, Etna, Swissvale, Millvale, Crafton, etc.

The fact is that its unlikely Sewickley, Pine (Wexford), Upper St. Clair, Fox Chapel etc. will EVER agree to be in a metro government with Pittsburgh. Even if you promise to preserve the autonomy of their school districts, its unlikely. Further, the amount of gain the city will have in annexing these places is minimal. While well off, they comprise a very small percentage of the population of the county as a whole. Also, these places are more likely to attempt to secede from Allegheny County if a consolidation effort is attempted. No doubt Washington County would welcome USC. That being the case, it isn't worth bogging down the consolidation effort by trying to bring these places in.

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^^if it's done in a "federated" style similar to Indianapolis or Louisville where the major city provides certain "big city" services and act somewhat like counties act in the sunbelt (with the county or "metro" police force having secondary jurisdiction in the bedroom communities), that kind of consolidation is very doable with Sewickley or Pine retaining some of there local neighborhood power while being served by Pittsburgh Police as a secondary unit (and all their specialized forces), and having "metro" type services provided by Pittsburgh.

I would push very hard to consolidate just more then Allegheny County, basically I would consolidate every township or municipality that fed into Pittsburgh, NYC consolidated 5 counties in the early 20th century, though it is a bit of a stretch to consolidate places like Ligionear and Uniontown into the city of Pittsburgh, it is not without precendent, the city of Atlanta even spans two seperate counties, and that is without any county level consolidations!

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NYC consolidated 5 counties in the early 20th century

Actually they took over only three other counties - King (Brooklyn), Richmond (Staten Island), and Queens. Queens was a weird annexation since they took only the western 1/3 of Queens and the remainder became what is now Nassau County. As for the Bronx, it was chewed off of Westchester County and became part of New York County (I think this was before the massive annexation of the 1890's). It was only in the 20th Century that the Bronx became recognized as a separate county and split off of New York County (which is now just Manhattan Island, Roosevelt Island, and a portion of the mainland (Marble Hill) which was carved off of Manhattan Island and attached to the mainland).

By the way, I think Houston is also located in 5 counties. Also Chicago is in two (Ohare Int. Airport - which is on land annexed by the City of Chicago - is in DuPage County).

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Consolidation has worked extremely well for Jacksonville, Florida. This is not to say that it will for Pittsburgh, PA. What works well for one city may not be the anecdote or cure for another. I don't intimately know the Pittsburgh area, but it seems to be a great area of Pennsylvania and the country though it is losing population. This is where Jacksonville, Florida was in the 1960's before consolidating in 1968. Consolidation did not immediately help Jacksonville (population increased) but it did improve most of the city government and vital services to the public. Consolidation is not always the answer, but you must let the citizens/voters decide this issue based on what the politicians have marketed and sold to the citizens and the public.

FLORIDA SKYRISE ORDER

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I just thought we could revive this topic, since there is now a comission studying consolidation (again). I am confused about merging the city into the county? Aren't we aiming more for a Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Metro government? I think this would simplify things and allow us to revamp the taxation system and school districts. In addition we could list oursoulves as a city of over a million which is where we should be. What are your thoughts? What is the real plan?

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06292/731385-100.stm

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Sounds to me like there is no plan yet, but this commity is charged with the task of making one. I just hope something comes of it. Even if it is just a merging of more services, that would be a good step.

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