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Groups move toward South Side tax for cleanup, safety

| Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 8:20 p.m.

Despite boisterous opposition from many of the nearly 175 people at a meeting in the South Side tonight, representatives from five organizations voted unanimously to move forward with the process to create a tax to pay for litter cleanup, safety patrols and other services in the neighborhood.

The next step rests with Pittsburgh City Councilman Bruce Kraus, who will have to petition his colleagues on council to take up the matter, according to Susie Puskar, neighborhood outreach coordinator for the Neighborhood Improvement District, or NID.

Following the meeting, Kraus said he would review the positions expressed tonight and at several community gatherings at which creation of the NID was discussed, and then issue his decision in writing in about a week.

The NID includes nearly all of the "Flats" between Ninth and 29th streets, with the exception of the SouthSide Works and some industrial properties.

The sliding-scale tax would range from exempting low-income seniors and disabled people to charging businesses on East Carson Street between 10th and 25th streets $50 for each $10,000 of assessed property value with a cap set at $7,500 a year.

Before the NID can be created and the fees levied, the measure will have to win approval by City Council and be signed by the mayor.

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