Pittsburgh City Council

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City Councilman Dan Gilman wants to change the way Pittsburgh does property assessment appeals, to ensure property owners are taxed fairly -- even at the expense of the city.  

He said the city will target homeowners with an appeal letter within just a month or two of closing on their home, and said the city wins 90 percent of the appeals attempting to increase property taxes. Gilman said, that’s because the city has the expertise, but a homeowner in most cases needs to hire an attorney.

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In the 1980s, city officials took steps to set aside strips of undeveloped hillsides as greenways that could never be developed. 

Over the years, some of those lands have become the sites of illegal dumping, hunting and dirt bike racetracks. Now, the Department of City Planning is hoping to get more value from those parcels.

The department is applying for a $50,000 state grant to hire a consultant to look specifically at how the city can better use its 12 designated greenways, which cover about 600 acres. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A committee tasked by city council to look at wages of Pittsburgh's hospital service workers recommended they get a $15 minimum wage during a post-agenda meeting on Tuesday.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Many of the region's officials kicked off a new administration with their new year Monday.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald took his second oath of office alongside several Allegheny County Council members, Pittsburgh City Council members and Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to a measure that would establish the Office of Early Childhood within the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and Equal Opportunity, and hire an early childhood manager.

The ultimate goal is to ensure every child in the City of Pittsburgh has access to quality pre-K programs. During about an hour of public testimony, speakers voiced overwhelming support for an office dedicated to the education of some of the city’s youngest residents.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council’s Wage Review Committee, spearheaded by Councilman Ricky Burgess, is recommending some of the region’s biggest employers increase their minimum wage.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

City Councilman Ricky Burgess is pushing a pair of bills that he said would empower people in some of the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods to guide economic and community development.

Pittsburgh City Council is one step closer to prohibiting large trucks from parking on residential streets overnight.

“In a residential community you shouldn’t be able to leave you large trucks. A – it’s a public safety concern on many of our narrow streets, B – residential community is meant for residential parking,” said Councilman Dan Gilman. 

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Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday introduced a bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, defined as 30 grams, or about an ounce.

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It’s become something of a routine in Pittsburgh City Council’s weekly committee meetings: when legislation to create a registry of rental properties in the city comes up for discussion, Public Safety Chair Councilman Daniel Lavelle asks that the bill be held for another week — or two, or three.

A May 2015 investigation into why the bill wasn’t moving forward in council garnered few solid answers, but it now appears that Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration is prepared to revive the long-dormant proposal.

Courtesy Mac & Gold

The laws that govern food trucks in Pittsburgh were written in an era when ice cream trucks were the only food vendors on wheels, well before mobile pierogi and taco vendors took to the streets, councilman Dan Gilman said.

For example, city code requires food trucks to move every 30 minutes.

City of Pittsburgh

 

Councilman Dan Gilman’s campaign finance and ethics reform bills received final approval from City Council Tuesday morning.

He said the bills are part of a “new era of transparency” in city government.

One of the bills revives the city’s defunct Ethics Hearing Board, which Gilman said hasn’t met in at least five years. It also puts whistleblower protections in place for those who report misconduct.

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City Council members are expected to vote on a bill next week that would clarify where drones are allowed as they become more affordable and available in the Pittsburgh market.

“Historically, unmanned aircraft, including model airplanes, have been barred from our city parks,” said Jim Griffin, director of Parks and Recreation for the city. “That, we now extend to drones.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Two parts of Councilman Ricky Burgess’s “City for All Agenda” received unanimous preliminary approval in Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday.

If the bills are formally approved next week, the city will establish a Wage Review Commission and the HELP Initiative, which would create a strategy for preserving and increasing affordable housing in the East End.

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Following in the footsteps of New Haven, Conn., San Francisco, and New York City, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration is floating a proposal to issue municipal identification cards to city residents.

In August 2011, heavy rains triggered a flash flood on Washington Boulevard in the Highland Park neighborhood, killing four. Kimberly Griffith, 46, and her two daughters, Breanna, 12, and Mikaela, 8, died as the water rose above their car roof. Mary Saflin, 72, was swept away by rising water. City Council is expected Tuesday to approve a settlement for the victims' estates.

The payments total $375,000 for the two families. Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority reached a settlement with the families in July 2014.

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  City officials aren’t collecting fines for false burglar and fire alarms despite state laws and city codes that require penalties after at least the fourth and second respective false alarm is received from the same building.

Providing Paid Sick Leave For Pittsburgh Workers

Aug 5, 2015
Daniel X. O'Neil / flickr

  Earlier this week, Pittsburgh City Council received a standing ovation from activists and workers when it gave final approval to a bill requiring employers to provide paid sick days to workers. The  Paid Sick Days Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked. But not everyone is applauding. The Allegheny Institute calls the ordinance anti-free market and anti-business. We'll discuss the pro and cons of paid sick leave with Allegheny Institute President Jake Haulk and Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council on Monday received a standing ovation from activists and workers after it gave final approval to a bill that will require employers to provide paid sick days to workers.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council got an earful at a public hearing Thursday on paid sick days legislation. The measure was put on hold by council last week to allow for amendments and a public hearing. 

The most visible attendees were pro-sick days legislation, though several came to represent the other side.

Pittsburgh officers rolling past loud parties and unauthorized construction will be able to cite residents' complaints as part of a new three-strike system with the city's disruption ordinance.

In a preliminary vote, Pittsburgh City Council gave unanimous approval Wednesday to legislation aiming to better regulate the city’s noise control that replaces old language and better defines residential noise violations as any “sound that annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.”

Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman proposed a resolution Tuesday that would create a data sharing system between the city and the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to assist authorities in tracking down stolen or wanted vehicles.

“Right now our ticket enforcement officers could walk down the street, enter a license plate at a meter, write a parking ticket, and that car could either be stolen or wanted as part of an Amber Alert and they would have no idea,” he said.

Pittsburgh City Council voted on Wednesday to hold the Paid Sick Days Act for one week so the bill can be amended and council can hold a public hearing July 30.

Councilman Corey O’Connor of Squirrel Hill agreed to amend his own bill. In it's original form, the bill required businesses with 15 or more employees allow workers to accrue up to 72 hours of paid sick leave per year, and those with less than 15 employees up to 40 hours of leave. An employee would have to work 30 hours to earn one hour of sick leave.

City Council is slated on Wednesday to consider Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak's plain language resolution, which aims to do away with forms and other documents filled with legalese that may be hard for some people to understand.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“This is Pittsburgh. We want French fries on our sandwiches, not (the flu),” Councilman Corey O’Connor told a group of supporters shortly before introducing legislation that would mandate paid sick days for all workers in the city.

Courtesy Jennifer England / Pink Coat Communications

Workers in Pennsylvania’s largest city now have the right to earn and use sick days without retaliation, thanks to a bill passed by Philadelphia City Council in February.

But for the state’s second biggest city, it might not be so straightforward.

A bill in the state House Labor and Industry Committee would prohibit municipal governments from mandating that businesses offer sick leave to employees.

City Council members gave preliminary approval to updated cooperative police services agreement between city officers and University of Pittsburgh Police.

“Departments that overlap have to have agreements in place so they can share information and act in their partner’s jurisdictions,” said Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar. “The University of Pittsburgh sits in the city and quite often there are issues where our police officers are responding to an incident in the city but within the campus.”

Pittsburgh City Council approved an agreement with the city and Department of Public Safety aimed at mentoring parents of young children. “Promised Beginnings” is part of the larger Safer Together Pittsburgh initiative to improve public safety.

“It helps facilitate existing resources that are already out there by the county or private providers, bringing those resources together (and) targeting the parents of preschool children,” said Public Safety Director Stephan Bucar.

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A week after Governor Tom Wolf stopped at a Harrisburg prison to promote his plan to increase early education funding, Pittsburgh City Council will consider the link between public safety and preschool.

A bill approving the Department of Public Safety’s “Promised Beginnings” initiative is scheduled to come up for discussion in Council’s committee meeting Wednesday.

With no Republicans on the ballot, all five Democratic incumbents should keep their City Council seats another four years.

District 1 Councilwoman Darlene Harris, 62, of Spring Hill beat out challengers Bobby Wilson, 32, of Spring Hill and Randy Zotter, 65, of Central North Side. Harris received nearly 47 percent of the vote, while Wilson received about 33 percent.

Harris said her campaign was successful because she's in-touch with the neighborhoods she represents.

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