Friday, June 18, 2010

Local Congress Aims to Cut Costs via Collaboration

Allegheny County leaders gathered in Oakland today to discuss issues common to Pittsburgh and the 35 municipalities that border the city.

The Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT) wants the 36 urban governments to work together on issues like emergency medical services, LED street lights and funding for the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

Professor Dave Miller of the University of Pittsburgh created CONNECT. He says the measures taken by this 2nd Congress are meant to cut costs.

“I think in the area of, for instance, street lighting, which is a huge expense for all the municipalities, developing a common strategy around street lighting could not only yield financial savings but also could really improve the quality of life and quality of service in the core region of Allegheny County,” says Miller.

Mt. Lebanon 1st Ward Commissioner D. Raja says CONNECT helps him find ways to keep infrastructure costs down. He says so far, he hasn’t been opposed to any of the resolutions adopted by the Congress.

“The way this has been structured so far, it is looking to make it a win for all communities, so things like sharing costs and all that, that’s going to help every single one, and not just one municipality,” says Raja. “If you take it to the next level and say one municipality has to subsidize somebody else, that’s a different level, but we’re not there yet.”

Miller says 680,000 people live in CONNECT municipalities. He says that region is also home to the majority of the county’s jobs.

More information can be found at the CONNECT homepage.

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