Allegheny County executive reveals 'vision team' recommendations
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald on Thursday released a 710-page advisory report with more than 300 wide-ranging proposals to improve county government and life for residents.
Some he's doing. Some he won't do, he said.
A year ago, Fitzgerald formed a dozen volunteer committees to brainstorm about county government, economic development, transportation, public health and safety. Almost 300 civic and business leaders contributed.
“Some (proposals) I probably won't do. Some I might disagree with,” he said at a Downtown news conference.
For example, Fitzgerald said he opposes a recommendation for a ballot referendum to institute a dedicated county tax for parks and trails.
Fitzgerald did not say which ideas he might pursue. He said he and County Manager William McKain would talk with department and authority heads.
Fitzgerald moved aggressively during his first 14 months in office to change county departments and agencies. He orchestrated ousters of the late Dr. Bruce Dixon as health department director, Steve Bland as Port Authority's transit chief and Brad Penrod as Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO.
“I don't understand the motivation of Fitzgerald, especially as a past president of County Council. He should know the issues and have plenty of ideas,” said Robert P. Strauss, professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
Among recommendations Fitzgerald supports: The report said the county should work with neighboring ones to create a regional transit authority.
“I think it would eliminate a lot of duplication of services,” Fitzgerald said, noting Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to boost transportation funding by $1.8 billion a year would require agencies to study consolidation and implement cost-saving measures or expect less state funding.
Fitzgerald said he supports looking for ways to reduce or eliminate property taxes, replacing them with another source of money. One option could be expanding the state sales tax to some exempted goods and services, the report said, noting Pennsylvania is the only state that doesn't tax non-cigarette tobacco products. Another option could be imposing a personal income tax, within Allegheny County or regionally, the report said.
The transit and property tax proposals would require legislative support in Harrisburg, Fitzgerald said.
“We have already implemented many of these initiatives,” Fitzgerald said, citing as examples a deal to allow natural gas drilling at Pittsburgh International Airport and to create a county facilities department.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Sprint cancels Framily, rolls out new data pricing plan
- Steelers re-sign Keisel to bolster depth on defensive line
- Rossi: Blount brings back Steelers’ swagger
- Pleasant Hills OKs proposal for Weiss Meats warehouse
- Retired McKeesport police officer to pay fine for involvement in gambling ring
- Frances McClure Intermediate School starts foreign language academy program
- Run game not primary focal point for Steelers
- Former Elizabeth Forward custodian’s attorney denies allegations
- Steelers are hoping to mirror Eagles’ full-bore, no-huddle offense
- CF McCutchen returns to lineup, but Braves blast fast-fading Pirates
- Steelers sign tackle Gilbert to $30 million deal