Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Harris: Study is Necessary...Burgess: It's a Waste of Money

By a vote of 8-1, Pittsburgh City Council today gave final approval to spending $250,000 to hire Finance Scholars Group to conduct a study of the city's parking assets. Council President Darlene Harris says the study is necessary for "council to make an informed decision" on how best to use the city's parking assets to boost the city's pension fund to at least 50% of its obligations.
The money will come from city parking revenues and the lone "no" vote Ricky Burgess called it a waste of money.
Burgess supports Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's proposal to lease the city's parking garages and meters for up to 50 years for at least $200 million.
Finance Scholars Group will have until August 1 to study the mayor's plan as well as other proposals including Harris' idea to float a bond to bolster the pension fund and use revenues from increased parking taxes and fines to pay back the bonds. Councilman Patrick Dowd and Controller Michael Lamb have proposed transferring some of the parking assets directly to the pension fund.
The consultant will also determine a value of the city's parking assets.

Harris says there is enough time to come to agreement on a plan to use the parking assets before the January deadline when the state would take over the pension fund..."We just want to make sure we do what's in the best interests of the residents of Pittsburgh."

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