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City to vote on purchasing office merger

| Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005, 12:00 p.m.

Pittsburgh City Council will examine a cost-cutting measure Nov. 9 that would merge the purchasing offices of the city and Allegheny County.

The merger is a step toward council's goal of consolidating many city and county functions. In 2004, the city and county successfully merged 911 emergency services.

Dale Perrett, director of the city's General Services Department, which oversees purchasing, said the office is operating with a staff of three -- down from eight -- in anticipation of the merger.

Perrett needs council's approval to complete the move and transfer the city's purchasing office to county property by the beginning of the year. He said he doesn't anticipate problems getting that approval.

Once the governments begin joint purchasing of everything from uniforms to electricity, overall costs for both should fall. The city and county spend $39 million a year on uniforms, utilities, telecommunications and vehicle purchases and repairs, according to an analysis done as part of the city's financial recovery plan.

By 2006, the plan's estimates put the city's savings from the merger at $315,000 in staff consolidation and $500,000 from joint purchasing.

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