Mayor, city council plan meetings to talk about selling parking assets
In South Side on July 27
City Council will hold four public meetings to discuss Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's plan for leasing Pittsburgh's parking assets and how these proposed changes will impact in the most traveled and dense neighborhoods in the city — Downtown, South Side, Oakland and North Side.
At each meeting, City of Pittsburgh Budget Director Bill Urbanic will present and discuss three plans for monetizing of the city's parking assets. After the presentation there will time allotted for input from community members.
Leasing the City of Pittsburgh's parking assets will result in increases to the cost of parking in the City-owned parking garages and meters. Among the proposed changes is to increase meter enforcement to 10 p.m ., seven days a week with relief for religious services.
Each meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m ., dates and locations:
• Mon ., July 26, Downtown, in City Council Chambers, 5th Floor, City-County Building, enter on Grant street side.
• Tues ., July 27, South Side, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers Headquarters, 10 S. 19th Street at the River
• Thurs ., July 29, Oakland, Pittsburgh Board of Education headquarters, 341 S. Bellefield Avenue, second floor.
• Monday, Aug. 2, North Side, Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School Cafeteria, 50 Montgomery Street, enter by the loading dock.
A copy of Mayor Ravenstahl's draft agreements for the 50 year lease of parking assets and the study commissioned by the Parking Authority to evaluate its parking garages and meters is available on the City Council web site, http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/council, just below the photographs of all the council members.
These four meetings may be the public's best opportunity to comment on the concession agreements before an official meeting of council.
Northside and Brookline
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will be holding several public meetings to talk with citizens about his plan to solve the city's pension crisis by monetizing the city's parking assets.
Last month a draft concessionaire agreement for the proposed monetization of the parking assets was released. The mayor proposed this plan more than a year ago in order to prevent the state from taking over the city's pension assets. The takeover would force the city to pay roughly 30 million more annually in pension payments. At the request of Mayor Ravenstahl, the state has granted the city until Jan. 1, 2011 to get its pension above half-funded in order to avoid the takeover.
The city's pension fund contains only $293 million or 30 percent of its $697 million liability. The city must put more than $200 million into the fund to get it above half-funded.
During the meetings, the Mr. Ravenstahl will give a presentation to citizens on the steps the city has taken to improve its financial situation, including the adoption of a pay-as-you-go capital budget, a no new debt policy and measures to get the city's inherited "legacy" costs of pension, debt and healthcare under control. After, the mayor will go into detail about the ramifications of a state takeover of the city's pension assets.
He will explain why much debate and analysis have concluded that parking monetization is the best option. Lastly, the mayor will go into detail on how the proposed monetization would affect the availability and cost of parking in Pittsburgh.
Members of the Mayor's Parking Advisory Committee comprised of neighborhood stakeholders, business owners and elected officials adopted guiding principals which ensure that the interests of businesses and the public are represented. All guiding principals – including retention of public ownership, ensuring a gradual increase in parking rates not to go above market rate and encouraging more public parking within neighborhood business districts – have been represented in the draft concessionaire agreement. Many committee members will be in attendance.
Locations of the community meetings are:
Wednesday, July 14 – 6-8:30 p.m ., Northside Senior Center, Allegheny Square, 5 Allegheny Square (lower level of the old Carnegie Library)
Wednesday, July 21 – 6-8:30 p.m ., St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 933 Brookline Blvd.
Wednesday, July 28 – 6-8:30 p.m ., Greenfield Senior Center, 745 Greenfield Ave.