Thursday, August 7, 2008
State lawmakers met Wednesday to discuss the possibility of a Pittsburgh-Allegheny County merger and came to one conclusion: now is not the time. Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato hoped that a referendum on a merger might reach the November 2009 ballot. State lawmakers, however, felt that more information needs to be gathered on a merger before the question can be put in front of constituents. State Representative Dan Frankel, a Democrat who represents the Squirrel Hill area says that an ad hoc legislative committee has been put together to research the results of a merger. In the meantime though, he would like to see some steps taken towards consolidation in areas that can be joined without state legislation citing the fact that both the city and the county have planning commissions and economic development departments as an opportunity to do so. The committee will also look into what has been done towards a merger, what can be done, what the effects of a merger would be, and what potential models of government could be used.