Mon-Yough councils of government hint at merger plans
Representatives of local, county and state government gathered on Thursday for the first joint general assembly meeting of Steel Valley and Twin Rivers councils of government.
The combined meeting, which filled Georgetown Centre in Pleasant Hills with officials from across the Mon-Yough region, evolved from the growing partnership among local COGs.
That affiliation could blossom further as officers of each COG revealed talk of a merger.
“With the many similarities and geographic locations of our COGs, the experience we have shared with the loss of member communities and budget restraints, we feel this might work out and be beneficial for both organizations,” outgoing Twin Rivers president Kenneth Hresko of Port Vue said.
There have been two meetings to discuss benefits and concerns of a larger council of governments and talks will continue in coming months.
“Hopefully the outcome will be a positive for both organizations involved,” Hresko said.
Steel Valley COG president Raymond Bodnar of Munhall said the process will be challenging, filled with new ideas and difficult decisions.
“Future economics and changes dictate that we must consolidate various services beneficial to both COGs,” Bodnar said. “We must pursue the most effective methods for future development. Communication is key to moving ahead.”
The COGs have been working together to eliminate blight and develop a land banking program. They will continue police chief meetings and start similar sessions for municipal managers and secretaries.
“A lot of times, this is where new COG programming is born,” Steel Valley executive director An Lewis said. “They know how to achieve better services through cooperating.”
Twin Rivers executive director John Palyo encouraged officials from member municipalities to participate as COG programs grow and evolve.
“Let's continue to work together and share together as we continue to improve our region,” he said.
Palyo and Lewis invited John J. Exler, deputy director of operations for the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development, to speak about federal funding that has eliminated blight and improved infrastructure in every member community.
Exler spoke about the growth of federal Community Development Block Grant funding over the past 40 years.
“This highly effective program, championed by President Nixon and Congress in 1974, was envisioned to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing, suitable living environments and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low or moderate income,” Exler said.
“CDBG is as vital and relevant today, even more so as the economic downturn of the last several years has placed severe financial and other burdens on communities, residents, housing and employment opportunities.”
Over 40 years, Allegheny County has received more than $632 million in CDBG funding. Compared to other entitled urban counties, Allegheny County receives the third largest allocation in the country.
Over the past three years, Steel Valley COG has received $5,185,804 in federal funding, and Twin Rivers COG has received $3,085,828.
Exler encouraged the COGs and member municipalities to make the most of their dollars.
“We will need to work together to develop better projects for the upcoming year that will make a greater impact on our residents,” he said.
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- West Mifflin Area to celebrate newest graduate’s life, legacy
- McKeesport, school district shore up safety at dangerous intersection
- Mon River Fleet honors 2015 Women of Achievement
- Casey calling for Medicare Part B freeze
- Clairton man arrested on drug, weapon charges
- Sewer system lease could dissolve McKeesport’s municipal authority
- Homestead residents to get emergency alerts from borough in 2016
- Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh to rehab East McKeesport home
- Young Scholars charter school opens in McKeesport
- Port Vue police warn of IRS scam