Allegheny County

Government & Politics
4:13 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Fitzgerald Announces Re-Election Bid For Allegheny County Executive

Governor-elect Tom Wolf introduces Allegheny County Rich Fitzgerald as he announces his bid for re-election.
Credit 90.5 / Michael Lynch

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, with the support of Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Wolf, announced his bid for re-election Thursday.

The Squirrel Hill Democrat is seeking a second four-year term, and his campaign can be summed up in two words: jobs and transportation.

With desirable jobs come young talent, and according to Fitzgerald, that talent leads to progress.

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Community
3:30 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Plans Move Forward to Restore Allegheny County Courthouse

One of the most iconic symbols in downtown Pittsburgh is set to undergo a series of renovations that will preserve its history and bring it up to date.

Allegheny County has selected the firm of Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel to develop a Master Facilities Plan to restore the 126-year-old Allegheny County Courthouse.

The firm will assess the building’s heating, lighting, electric and security systems to determine what construction needs completed, according to Principal Sheldon Goettel.

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Government & Politics
4:03 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Allegheny County 'Bans the Box'

Allegheny County has followed in the City of Pittsburgh’s footsteps and will no longer include a question about prior criminal convictions on its job applications starting in January.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said the policy increases the number of available applicants to fill county positions and gives those with prior convictions a fair shot at an interview.

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Allegheny County
1:55 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

ACLU Sues Allegheny County Over Foster Parent Payments

In 2012, Tracey Schaeffer of Leechburg became the foster parent for her four grand nieces and nephews whose parents were deemed unable to take care of them. Since then, she has been fighting with the Allegheny County Department of Children, Youth and Families to get help paying for their care.

Now the ACLU of Pennsylvania has filed suit asking for payment and for a change in any policy or practices that might be illegal.

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Public Safety
5:36 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Allegheny County Controller Says 911 Dispatchers Are Overworked; County Manager Refutes That

It’s reasonable to expect that, when calling 911, the person on the other end of the line is alert, well rested, and not overworked.

But Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said she’s concerned that the county’s 9-1-1 center employees are racking up too much overtime, leading to escalated costs and risks to public safety.

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Allegheny County
11:25 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Allegheny County Controller Concerned About 'Potential Abuse' of County Vehicles

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner says she has received incomplete and inconsistent information about how many vehicles the county owns.
Credit Flickr user dfirecop

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said Tuesday she is concerned that the county does not know how many vehicles it has and how many of those go home with employees each night.

In a letter sent to County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and County Manager William McKain Monday evening, Wagner reiterated a request for complete information about county vehicles and their usage for a pending audit.

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Government & Politics
6:39 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

City, County and Law Enforcement Officials Hear Case for Keeping Crime Lab Funded

Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl Williams (left) and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald testify on the importance of the county crime lab in front of a joint legislative hearing on funding.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Crime Lab is a full lab that performs a wealth crime-related tasks, such as DNA testing and crime scene analysis, but it’s funding has been cut by the state in recent years.

If the lab continues to receive no state funding, it’s in danger of closing. On Tuesday, a joint legislative hearing heard from a list of speakers about why the lab should be a funding priority. Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl Williams said, for starters, it’s a one-of-a-kind facility.

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Government & Politics
11:56 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Four-Year Allegheny County Review Recommends Few Changes

Every four years, Allegheny County is required to analyze all departments and determine which, if any, departments need to be reorganized, done away with or left as they are.

“It’s a very worthwhile exercise,” said County Manager William McKain. “We go through and drill down and talk to the departments, pull a lot of data and information out, assess their mission, how they’re accomplishing that, and what their future needs would be.”

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Community
10:43 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Allegheny County Domestic Partners Given More Time Before Losing Benefits

Last week, Allegheny County announced that all same-sex partners of county employees would have their domestic partner benefits cut off effective July 31.

Following an outcry from advocates and some receiving benefits that 30 days was not enough time to arrange for new coverage and/or legally marry, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has now extended the cut-off date to June 30, 2015.

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Community
9:09 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Same-Sex Allegheny County Couples Want More Time Before Losing Domestic Partner Benefits

Now that same-sex marriage is legal in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County will require proof of marriage for same-sex couples seeking benefits.
Credit Flickr user Gexydaf

Allegheny County announced last week plans to cut off benefits to same-sex partners of its employees. The move was made because same-sex couples can now marry in Pennsylvania. Same-sex couples receiving benefits from Allegheny County must now show proof of marriage, or lose their domestic partner benefits.

It’s not so much the cutting off of benefits that has some worried, but the timeline. The benefits will be terminated August 1, giving employees and their partners little more than a month to arrange for new coverage, or get legally married.

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Housing
3:30 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Millions in Tax Credits Will Build New Homes

Construction will begin on three housing projects in Allegheny County by the end of the year thanks to $2.7 million in tax credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority (PHFA).

“There will be a significant number of construction jobs and then obviously the jobs that will be necessary in order to run the projects. In total it’s about $33 million dollars’ worth of development so, it will be fairly significant in terms of job creation,” said Dennis Davin, Allegheny County Economic Development Director.

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Allegheny County
5:53 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Allegheny County Controller Releases Yearly Report on County's Fiscal Health

The takeaway: Allegheny County's fiscal condition is good, but policy makers shouldn't be complacent because challenges are on the horizon.

That's according to County Controller Chelsa Wagner, who released her 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Tuesday.

The report shows that the county’s fund balance stands at $28 million — up $15 million from the previous year,  and Standard & Poor’s rating agency has upgraded the county’s debt from A+ to AA-. Wagner also noted that jobs increased by more than 20,000 making the region home to more than 1.2 million employees.

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Health
7:00 am
Sun June 8, 2014

Allegheny County Summer Food Program Starts

During the school year, many children in the region depend on school breakfasts and lunches for daily nutrition. When summer hits, it often places a burden on families who may be food insecure. For decades summer food programs have been filling the void. They date back to when Jimmy Carter was president.

“He saw the gap in children who were out of school possibly not receiving nutritious meals so he wanted something they could carry on through the summer until school started again in the fall,” said Sally Petrilli, Allegheny County service administrator.

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County Alerts
1:08 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

County Executive Fitzgerald Unveils New Alerts System

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald demonstrates the newly unveiled Allegheny Alerts system.
Credit Julian Routh

Reporters and county officials watched in anticipation as Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald slowly typed his name and phone number onto a giant computer screen in his office Thursday morning.

After creating an account, a phone rang in the middle of the table, and a look of relief permeated Fitzgerald’s face.

That was the first notification from the newly unveiled Allegheny Alerts system.

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Economy & Business
2:37 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Report: Pittsburgh Region's Economic Growth is Steady, But Under the Radar

The stabilization of the natural gas boom may lead to opportunities for downstream industries, bringing petrochemical processing and related manufacturing stateside. Seen here, an ethalyne "cracker" in Singapore.
Credit Flickr user pennstatenews

Advanced manufacturing is picking up in the Pittsburgh region, more jobs are requiring technology skills and the financial and businesses services sector is greatest contributor to the gross regional product.

Those are just some of the takeaways from the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance’s seventh annual economic development performance scorecard and “Wins Day” Wednesday.

The alliance is the marketing affiliate of the Allegheny Conference for Economic Development and is charged with the task of marketing the Pittsburgh region to businesses and workers alike.

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County Government
12:36 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Paperless Office in Sight for Allegheny County Controller

To cut costs and encourage more effective communication between businesses and county government, Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is taking the next step in having her office go paperless.

Vendors are now being urged to send invoices to the county electronically, which will save the office between $15,000 and $20,000 per year in postage, paper and ink. 

Businesses still have the option to submit paper invoices, but Wagner said she expects using the electronic system to be a requirement soon.

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Health
3:35 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

New Wellness Campaign Aimed at Making Allegheny County Healthiest in Nation

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and County Health Department Director Karen Hacker launched the Live Well Allegheny Campaign at PNC YMCA in downtown Pittsburgh.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Live Well Allegheny is a new initiative aimed at promoting health and wellness throughout Allegheny County.

The effort was launched Tuesday by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, members of the county Board of Health and Health Department Director Karen Hacker.

Fitzgerald said while the Pittsburgh region ranks high on national lists for things such as livability and academia, it could also be a leader in healthy living.

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Government & Politics
1:59 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Drop in Taxable Property Values Not Expected to Impact County Millage Rates

As counties, municipalities and school districts prepare to send tax bills, Allegheny County is reporting a drop in taxable real estate values. Due to assessment appeals, the overall value of land and buildings in the county dropped by 4.8 percent.

There is now a total of a little more than $75 billion in taxable property in the county, versus more than $79 billion last year. But, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said that’s not unusual following a reassessment.

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Environment & Energy
11:02 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Downtown Government Building Rated High By Energy Star

What was once one of the most polluted cities in the nation now has 49 Energy Star certified commercial facilities. 

It was announced Thursday that the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star rating, meaning the building performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities in terms of energy efficiency nationwide.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said sustainability is something Allegheny County has been focused on for some time.

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Community
2:11 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Find Your Community's Ornament on the County's Holiday Tree

In addition to the colorful globes that normally decorate Allegheny County’s official holiday tree, nearly 100 ornaments created by local school districts have been added the tree's branches.
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

Visitors to the Allegheny County Courthouse this holiday season will see a few new festive embellishments. 

Along with the colorful globes that normally adorn the county’s official tree, nearly 100 ornaments created by local school districts have been added to the boughs. 

Every district in the county was invited to use recycled scrap material to create an ornament representing the district itself and one for each of the communities within its borders.

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Allegheny County
7:52 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Fitzgerald Releases 2014 Budget Proposal for Allegheny County

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald presented his 2014 budget to the County Council Tuesday evening.

Fitzgerald was visibly proud of the fact that Allegheny County will not be increasing property taxes in the county for the 12th time in 13 years.

He said the stabilized millage has contributed to the region’s success over the past few years.

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Hay Day Festival
1:39 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Green & Innovation Festival Offers More Vendors and Presentations This Year

A long-standing fall tradition at Hartwood Acres is back for another year, and organizers say it will be bigger than ever. 

The Allegheny County Green & Innovation Festival and Hay Day will have more vendors, presentations and crafts than previous years when it opens for business Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

County Special Events Coordinator Katie Harbison said last year’s high attendance was unexpected.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:02 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Giving Voters a Say on Natural Gas Drilling

Who should decide whether Allegheny County drills in its parks?
Credit Flickr

When it comes to drilling for natural gas in the county’s parks, Allegheny County councilman Matt Drozd thinks the decision should be up to the voters. That’s why he recently introduced a resolution that will require the board of elections to ask voters if they should be consulted before the county approves drilling beneath a county park.

“Let them make a decision too and join in. They’ll learn more and they’ll feel more a part of the process,” Drozd said of his proposal.

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Health
5:36 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Even Peskier-Than-Normal Asian Tiger Mosquito Found in Pittsburgh Neighborhood

The Asian tiger mosquito is from Southeast Asia and has characteristic black-and-white striped legs and body. It bites morning, noon and night.
Credit Naturegirl78 / Flickr

As if regular old mosquitoes weren’t bad enough, the Allegheny County Health Department is reporting that the Asian tiger mosquito has been found throughout Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.

More common mosquitoes generally bother birds, and people as well, but they're usually most active at dawn and dusk. That’s not the case with this insect.

“The Asian tiger mosquito loves people,” said Health Department entomologist Bill Todaro. “It bites in the morning, it bites in the afternoon and it bites in the evening.”

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Allegheny County
2:04 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Fitzgerald Wants to Establish 'Base Year' for Property Assessments

In an effort to ensure steady and predictable revenue from property taxes, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is planning to establish the 2012 property reassessment as a base-year for coming tax years.

He said the recent re-assessment was very costly for county residents.

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Community
2:24 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Census: Pittsburgh Region Is Getting Younger

According to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the youngest Allegheny County residents is increasing.
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

The population of the youngest Allegheny County residents is growing, while nationally the number is dropping.

Between 2010 and 2012, the number of people five years of age and younger increased county-wide by 0.9 percent, while it decreased nationally by the same percentage.

“I think the Pittsburgh region’s been attracting people for the last few years, and most people moving into the region are going to be younger folks mostly coming for work, so I think that’s made us younger as we go ahead,” said Christopher Briem, regional economist at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Blight
2:32 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Allegheny County Seeks to Fight Blight with Recovery Program

Allegheny County is hoping to fight blight by offering as much as a $3,000 discount to anyone looking to take ownership and improve abandon properties.

The Allegheny County Vacant Property Recovery Program usually charges individuals or entities that want to acquire the properties the assessed value of the parcel plus about $3,000 in fees. Between now and July 15 the county will waive between $1,600 and all of the fees.

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Biking
3:04 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Construction on Ohio River Bike Trail Set for the Summer

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (left), McKees Rocks Mayor John Muhr (center) and Bike Pittsburgh's Scott Bricker applaud the completion of the Ohio River Trail plan.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

In an ongoing effort to connect multiple bicycle trails and communities with one another, the plan for the Ohio River Trail has been completed.

Community leaders from around Allegheny County gathered at a Rite Aid store in McKees Rocks Thursday to outline the plan.

“This project is going to connect the City of Pittsburgh to McKees Rocks, along Route 51, along the McKees Rocks Bottoms, and finally connecting to the Montour Trail, which now has a spur to the airport,” said Bike Pittsburgh Executive Director Scott Bricker.

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Health
2:28 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Allegheny Co. Public Health Commission Hopes To Prevent Violence

Leaders hope a new commission will reduce violence and promote positive mental health in Allegheny County.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he formed the Public Health Commission on Preventing Gun Violence and Promoting Community Mental Health upon request of state Rep. Ed Gainey of the 24th Legislative District.

“We’re going to be focused on making sure we look at the best practices, the best ideas, implement them in our community and doing all that we have to do to make sure that we reduce and eliminate the violence in our neighborhood,” Gainey said.  

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Allegheny County
2:49 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Debt a Major Issue in Allegheny County, Controller Says

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner outlines findings of the 2012 Comprehensive Financial Report for the county.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said Thursday one of the most concerning issues facing the county is the amount of money going toward debt services.

In 2012, the county’s debt load increased $90 million, according to the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Total annual debt service payments have increased to $62.6 million.

“Of this $62.6 million, we are now paying more on the interest than on the principal,” Wagner said.

The debt service for the county poses a challenge to providing services and investments for communities.

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