Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pilot Deal For Pittsburgh Close

Pittsburgh has not had a contract with its largest tax-exempt organizations to make payments in lieu of taxes for more than a year but it looks as though a new deal will be signed soon. The city’s budget assumes more than 4 million dollars a year will come from the “Pittsburgh public service fund” that was set up several years ago by a consortium of nonprofits with large land holdings in the city. A deal has reportedly been submitted to the city to make payments this year but is yet to be signed. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says he is not ready to put his name on that deal. He says he has been advised by the law and budget departments to not yet sign on the dotted line. Ravenstahl says among the issues to be discussed is the possibility of inking a multi-year deal. Some of the tax exempt entities in the fund are worried about what the downturn in the economy will mean to their long term operations and are hesitant to enter into a multi-year commitment. Ravenstahl says he is confident a deal will be reached and the payments will be received this year. Ravenstahl says the city is trying to “dive a hard bargain” but the city’s ability to “flex its political muscle is limited” because ultimately the payments are voluntary. He says if the nonprofits want to have a one-year agreement ultimately that is what will have to be signed.

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