The City of Pittsburgh is the population and economic center of Allegheny County and tens of thousands of Allegheny County residents come to the city every day to work, visit restaurants, and attend events. The city and county are inherently linked in many ways, including in many of the challenges we face. Issues like the water quality of our rivers and streams, the flooding that plagues many of our neighborhoods, the funding of our public transportation system, the assessment of property taxes, and economic development planning require close cooperation and good working partnerships between officials at the city and county levels. As Mayor, I will build on existing relationships and create new ones to strengthen our partnership with the county to the benefit of all residents of Pittsburgh and the region.
1. City-County Working Groups
One of the best ways to work toward the kind of collaborative relationships that the city and county need is to create core working groups on key issues. Three major issues that could benefit from these coordinated working groups are economic development, water and sewer issues, and public transportation. As Mayor, I will make it a priority to work with County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to pull together the appropriate stakeholders in the city, the county, and city and county authorities to begin to meet regularly to advance these issues. I will also work to ensure that city residents serve on county boards, authorities, and commissions to better integrate the needs of the city with the needs of the county.
The ALCOSAN wet weather compliance plan required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin cleaning up our rivers, streams, and creeks is a perfect opportunity to put this idea into practice. This problem affects all of us, but it is the city and city residents that will face the most potential disruptions from the solution in the current plan. I know that County Executive Fitzgerald is committed to including alternative solutions, such as green infrastructure, as a part of this plan and I will work closely with him and with stakeholders in the community, at nonprofit and advocacy organizations, and with labor and business to make the City of Pittsburgh a leader in green infrastructure. Once the city begins to lead and provide real-world examples of how these solutions can work, surrounding municipalities will begin to implement them as well.
2. Increasing Efficiency of Service Provision
Another opportunity to work with the county is to find ways that share services, decrease costs, and increase the quality of the services provided to residents. Services from snow removal to the training of law enforcement officers present real opportunities to work together.