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TheGerbil

Study on consolidation to be released

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http://post-gazette.com/pg/06153/695090-85.stm

A nine-month study of the benefits of consolidation is being presented today. I hope the people in power will listen.

Here are a couple of key quotes from the article:

The class started by studying 10 cities that had, to varying degrees, consolidated with their counties or neighbors. They found increased efficiency, lower taxes and greater prestige were the results.
Then they interviewed local leaders on how consolidation could work here.

"There is a very strong underlying push that they would like to follow through with [consolidation]," said Jill Sandilla, 41, a senior vice president at Fifth Third Bank from Pine.

It sounds like this might actually happen. I can only imagine how long it would take, but it seems like it's not just a pipe dream anymore.

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http://post-gazette.com/pg/06153/695090-85.stm

A nine-month study of the benefits of consolidation is being presented today. I hope the people in power will listen.

Here are a couple of key quotes from the article:

It sounds like this might actually happen. I can only imagine how long it would take, but it seems like it's not just a pipe dream anymore.

It sounds like an interesting idea..but I'm pretty ignorant about this subject.

Is consolidation the same thing as merger - or is consolidation just the consolidation of services (metropolitan police, etc.) as opposed to merging (which sounds to me like services + borders).?.?

If the deffenitions are the same or if through merging, how will this work?

Would say West Mifflin, McKeesport, Duquesne, Elizabeth, Monroeville, Clairton, Moon, etc., suddenly be the CITY of Pittsburgh?

And what will they become? .. neighborhoods, boroughs? (i.e. City of Clairton/McKeesport to "borough of")

Something like how NYC is divided into boroughs?

I like the idea of dissolving the current borders all together (keep them as historical/non-political/neighborhood borders) and divide the county into 5 areas. A Westborough, Eastborough, Northborough, Southborough, and the current city borders as Pittsborough (original name).

Anyone else have any ideas of how they would like the county/city merger to look like?

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Consolidation can mean many things. It could be a merger, or just shared services. The study looked at ten cities that did it in various ways.

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noobie I like the general idea of a Westbourough, Southborough etc. however I might have a radical twist on it. I say consolidate all of Allegheny county plus Peters, Cranberry, Murrysville, Rostraver, New Kensington, etc. Then have the other metro counties renamed West Pittsburgh, East Pittsburgh, South Pittsburgh, North Pittsburgh and let them incorporate as one large government as well, those for the "exburbs".

I realize that is way more then anyone is considering and is out there for a base county that now lives with 180+ munis, but if the goal of consolidation is to simplify and streamline zoning, taxes, schools, codes, etc. and make the region business and newcomer friendly then why only go half way, why not apply the greatest possible solution?

Great link Gerbil, I'm glad to see this issue still has legs.

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noobie I like the general idea of a Westbourough, Southborough etc. however I might have a radical twist on it. I say consolidate all of Allegheny county plus Peters, Cranberry, Murrysville, Rostraver, New Kensington, etc. Then have the other metro counties renamed West Pittsburgh, East Pittsburgh, South Pittsburgh, North Pittsburgh and let them incorporate as one large government as well, those for the "exburbs".

I realize that is way more then anyone is considering and is out there for a base county that now lives with 180+ munis, but if the goal of consolidation is to simplify and streamline zoning, taxes, schools, codes, etc. and make the region business and newcomer friendly then why only go half way, why not apply the greatest possible solution?

Great link Gerbil, I'm glad to see this issue still has legs.

^Sounds interesting. I would love to see a graphic of that or any other ideas out there of what a map would look like politcally through different types of mergers. I'm a geek like that :)

Here's a graphic I came up with of the borough idea... just to give a bit of a visual

The left graphic of the County is the current layout*

merger9ky.jpg

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^^Interesting view on that noobie, however I wouldn't seperate the Steel Valley towns and the Allegheny Valley towns, I am no fan of the 4 boroughs for the 'burbs but if it is to come about I think the seperation lines might be better on the ridgelines instead of seperating the Braddocks from the Duquesnes.

I have a few maps myself of my "Greater Pittsburgh" with the suburban counties idea.

I do like how the city of Pittsburgh will grow their 55.5 sq. miles some in your view noobie!

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^^Interesting view on that noobie, however I wouldn't seperate the Steel Valley towns and the Allegheny Valley towns, I am no fan of the 4 boroughs for the 'burbs but if it is to come about I think the seperation lines might be better on the ridgelines instead of seperating the Braddocks from the Duquesnes.

I have a few maps myself of my "Greater Pittsburgh" with the suburban counties idea.

I do like how the city of Pittsburgh will grow their 55.5 sq. miles some in your view noobie!

I would love to see those maps of yours. You're probably right. I'm sure there is a better way to create proper borders. I'm no expert on this subject...I just like to doodle in Photoshop :thumbsup:

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a greater "Pittsborough" should at least contain the "urban suburbs" adjacent to its borders... Dormont is practically the same as city neighborhoods like Carrick and Beechview... Wilkinsburg, Edgewood and Swissvale all share the neighborhood of Regent Square with the city... Millvale is walkable from Lawrenceville... Bellevue and Avalon are adjacent to Brighton Heights... and McKees Rocks is an extension of the West End.

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Good pts. Evergrey, I just noticed the east end urban munis were left out, I did notice that ritzy Fox Chapel was included into an expanded city, I like that! I don't like going too far with this premise, not that there aren't some excellent solutions here but I feel anything less then a county consolidation, and at most a metro extra-county consolidation would be a failure of the movement to modernize local government's response to the metroplex. Noobie gets kudos for throwing out an idea of how something like the PG article describes might look.

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Good pts. Evergrey, I just noticed the east end urban munis were left out, I did notice that ritzy Fox Chapel was included into an expanded city, I like that! I don't like going too far with this premise, not that there aren't some excellent solutions here but I feel anything less then a county consolidation, and at most a metro extra-county consolidation would be a failure of the movement to modernize local government's response to the metroplex. Noobie gets kudos for throwing out an idea of how something like the PG article describes might look.

No one should take my graphic very seriously. I wasn't really paying much attention how I divided the County up. I was just going crazy using paint fill in 'shop lol.

Though I'm a bit confused...

In my graphic the entire County IS the city of Pittsburgh. But like NYC is divided into boroughs. Queens, brooklyn and the rest are still NYC, right?

So every little munici, boro, township, city in the County, is Pittsburgh

So for instance Wilkinsburg is still apart of my expanded Pittsburgh image... It would just be in the Eastborough division not Pittsborough (though it could be)

Maybe I just don't understand this consolidation thing very much

Oh well, like I said don't take the graphic very seriously -- I wasn't purposely adding/subtracting any place on purpose.

Feel free to make yinzes own :)

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^^ah, gotcha, a dilemma in that approach though is that the boroughs of NYC get their power from being their own county. It would be similar (though much much larger in land mass) if Pittsburgh incorporated Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Fayette and Armstrong counties within the city, county level services like courts, baliffs, jails, etc. would be done by "bourough" but city services would cross county or "borough" lines.

And Noobie, don't worry about the graphic, it is great someone put something on a map for us to finally discuss, good job!

From what I know about consolidations what you propose would be more like a "federated" consolidation (there are a few other names for it) similar to Louisville, where the local (in your case local consolidated) munis would keep some local services seperate but be under the city's umbrella. Louisville has it now and it probably is the most practical solution for Pittsburgh but not the one I'd like to see a total and extra-county consolidation.

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^^ah, gotcha, a dilemma in that approach though is that the boroughs of NYC get their power from being their own county. It would be similar (though much much larger in land mass) if Pittsburgh incorporated Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Fayette and Armstrong counties within the city, county level services like courts, baliffs, jails, etc. would be done by "bourough" but city services would cross county or "borough" lines.

And Noobie, don't worry about the graphic, it is great someone put something on a map for us to finally discuss, good job!

From what I know about consolidations what you propose would be more like a "federated" consolidation (there are a few other names for it) similar to Louisville, where the local (in your case local consolidated) munis would keep some local services seperate but be under the city's umbrella. Louisville has it now and it probably is the most practical solution for Pittsburgh but not the one I'd like to see a total and extra-county consolidation.

:D Thanks for the NYC clarification.

And thanks for the kudos too. :thumbsup:

The article said O'connor and Onorato were "the right two guys to get it done" ... whatever "done" means.

We shall see.

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^^I am hoping that it is the case with Onorato and O'Connor to take Pittsburgh into the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries (consider the 190+ jurisdictions in just Allegheny County, the most of any county in the U.S.), for the sake of the future growth of this great region!

Here is my proposal of consolidation in the theory of ask for more then you are usually going to get, but if this was to come about I'd be a very happy metropolitan!

159799449_131b45295a_o.gif

I would expand the suburban counties with adjacent non-metro counties (Mercer and Lawrence etc.) and let them consolidate into their own mega cities, possibly having them named South Pittsburgh, North Pittsburgh etc. etc. Of course the governor and assembly would have to ok all this but could be done if the people demand it.

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^^I fixed the link, red x land with Fotki :(.

Hope the image helps define my grand vision for a Pittsburgh metroplex.

Oh I'd hate to change the name to Allegheny City, though the city would be more the "county" then before.

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^^I fixed the link, red x land with Fotki :(.

Hope the image helps define my grand vision for a Pittsburgh metroplex.

Oh I'd hate to change the name to Allegheny City, though the city would be more the "county" then before.

I like your vision PghUSA!

My god, can you believe how big (geographically) we'd be!!?? :)

I imagine it would be the City/County of Pittsburgh ... Philly does that, right?

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I would love if they adopted that proposal tommorrow, but it would require annexing all of Beaver County, good portions of Westmoreland (New Kensington, Upper and Lower Burrell, Murrysville, Penn), Butler (Cranberry, etc.), and Washington and some of Fayette. It will require Harrisburg approval in many different ways and would be a very radical concept for Pennsyvlania. Atlanta and New York City does cross county lines though.

You are right noobie, just an Allegheny County consolidation or a federated government where the underlying munis still hold some sway, would be a more practical solution vs. my 5 county land grab. The logic of mine is that such things as the Post-Gazette pavillion, Southpointe, Cranberry, and other "Pittsburgh" locales.

As far as Philadelphia it is correct that they are a city/county from Urban though I think he said how Montgomery (?) county was split off of Philly. Though it is a consolidated government . . . it is only average in sq. miles when compared to true "consolidateds" like Indianapolis, Louisville and Jacksonville, or even land hungry sunbelt cities like Houston and Phoenix. Pittsburgh would be 780 some sq. miles if they consolidated the county, over 1,200 sq. miles if they adopted my proposal.

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This is the breakdown for the Allegheny County & Beaver County combination that I would propose:

Allegheny County:

730 sq. miles

15 sq. water

1,281,666

537,150 households

332,495 families

583,646 housing units

Beaver County:

434 sq. miles

10 sq. miles of water

181,412

72,576 households

50,512 families

77,765 housing units

Combination of both:

1164 sq. miles

25 water sq. miles

1,463,078 persons

609,726 households

383,007 families

661,411 housing units

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Lawrence County lands:

Enon Valley: .5 sq. miles, 387, 138 h, 105 f, 149 hu

Wampum: 1 sq. mile, 678, 290 h, 182 f, 310 hu

Ellwood City: 2.4 sq. mile, 8,688, 3,716 h, 2,393 f, 4,006 hu

Ellport: .5 sq. miles, 1,148, 482 h, 335 f, 501 hu

SNPJ: .7 sq. miles, 14

New Beaver: 14.5 sq. miles, 1,677, 652 h, 477 f, 696 hu

Little Beaver Twp: 20.5 sq. miles, 1,310, 451 h, 362 f, 502 hu

Total would now be:

1204.1 sq. miles

25 water

1,476,980

615,347 households

386,861 families

667,575 housing units

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I am a little concerned about what the article in the PG says about "erasing" the city and melting it into the county. If anything Allegheny county whould simply merge government functions as Pittsburgh Metro, and those communities who vote to do so could now be under the city's umbrella. It would be a great time to fix the tax structure as well. For example, if voters choose to do so the taxes could be lowered from income to property and then go towards a sales tax based system like EVERYWHERE else.

This would be a great idea because the more people counted under the new metro umbrella moves us up on city lists and puts more money in the pot to solve problems and improve life. This should be done under the Pittsburgh name because that is the name everyone associates with the area, and honestly the city that built every other city in Allegheny county.

My hope is that there will be meaningful dialogue on all sides to get the process rolling, but it must happen with tax reform to bring in the other communites.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06156/695830-85.stm

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I prefer the idea of making the whole county "Pittsburgh" and dividing it into several boroughs. But like mercury said, the PG mentioned dissolving the city into the county, and I am not sure if that's the same thing. Not sure exactly what they mean by that.

I would hate to see the city lose its autonomous gov't if the suburbs were going to maintain theirs. That could actually be worse than the current set-up in some ways. I would not want the suburbs to have more say than the city (oh wait, they kind of already do anyway :sick: ).

Although I guess we shouldn't get too hung up on a phrase in the PG. This is all in the early stages and nothing will happen without extensive discussion. No doubt there will be years of talking, arguing, and studying ad nauseum.

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