ShareThis Page
News

Pittsburgh may increase aid to Carnegie Library

| Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he is willing to increase the city's contribution to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to help keep branches open.

"I don't anticipate the city will be able to do the whole $1.2 million," he said, citing the Carnegie Library's one-year deficit. "But we'll be pushing to locate funding for the four facilities and the library as a whole."

The mayor made the comment Wednesday before the kick-off of Match Day, an event sponsored by The Pittsburgh Foundation to encourage giving to nonprofits, including the Carnegie Library.

In a controversial move that spurred protests, the library's board voted Oct. 5 to close the Allegheny Depository and branches in Beechview, Hazelwood, Lawrenceville and the West End, merge branches in Knoxville and Carrick, and move the Mt. Washington Library from Grandview to Virginia Avenue.

The library said its decision was necessary because of flat revenue from the Allegheny Regional Asset District, declining state money and a $40,000 contribution from the city that has not changed since 1895 when the Carnegie was founded.

The city's contribution in 1895 would be worth more than $1 million today.

Ravenstahl said he is working with City Council "to see what the appropriate amount is," but he did not specify a figure.

Barbara K. Mistick, president and director of the Carnegie Library, welcomed the prospect of additional money from the city.

"That's all good news," she said. "We did meet on Friday. He expressed all along that they're concerned about finding ways to find short-term dollars while they look for a long-term solution."

City Councilman Patrick Dowd said the mayor has stressed three points in the debate over the fate of the branches: the need for tight budget numbers from the library, short-term money from the city and the state, and a long-term fix.

Dowd said the city might be able to tap a $1 million surplus in the fuel fund, which resulted when gas prices dropped below the $4-a-gallon budgeted. However, that money could be used to address the city's debt and pension problems, he said.

In return, the city might insist on more openness from the Carnegie, Dowd said.

"The revenue stream would come with changes in accountability," said Dowd, without specifying what form that might take.

Another potential revenue source would be half of a 1 percent tax on table games at Pittsburgh's casino.

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.

click me