Pittsburgh City Council today issued an order for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to meet with council members to discuss the city's five-year financial recovery plan.
"We want to see the mayor at this table. We want him to state his position on the recovery plan," said Councilman Bruce Kraus.
"We have the power to call a meeting between council and mayor at any time," said Councilman Bill Peduto. "I suggest that the mayor find a flight from the beach and come back to work." (Trib, Jeremy Boren)
The maneuver stops just shy of a full-on subpoena -- which would involve sheriff's deputies and whatnot -- though that remains on the table as a last resort.
Lame-duck Councilwoman Tonya Payne said that she "came in saying no [to Act 47], I'm going to go out saying no," joining Darlene Harris, Theresa Smith and Patrick Dowd in clearly declaring opposition to the plan as it stands.
Council members expressed increasing worry that if the city can't find $10 million to $14 million a year to shore up its pension fund, and if it can't win state approval to tax nonprofit institutions or boost the $52 tax on those who work in the city, then they would be forced to boost property, wage or other levies on residents.
"The failsafe option, the sort of nuking of Pittsburgh, is a tax increase," said Mr. Dowd. (P-G, Rich Lord)
This is all a little strange. The council members who might ordinarily be against state oversight are finding common cause with the members who might ordinarily be for state oversight but don't want to be saddled with all the blame when things get even more uncomfortable.
Oops, one more thing: a statement from Independent mayoral candidate Kevin Acklin:
I applaud the seven members of City Council who today compelled the Mayor to actively engage in the critical debate over the proposed amendment to the Act 47 recovery plan. What our Council and our Mayor do on this issue will have a profound impact on the future of our city. The new recovery plan will affect our city workers, our public safety, our long-term financial stability, even our ability to perform and deliver basic city services. The citizens of Pittsburgh deserve the hard work and full attention of their Mayor, and it’s unfortunate that it takes the compulsion of City Council to get Mayor Ravenstahl to engage in this process.
I think we can all agree without too much fuss that we ought to know by now where our Mayor stands in relation to this new Act 47 Part II: The Resubjugation. Obviously now that he has statementized on the subject, eventually it would be super to know where Mr. Acklin himself stands, but Mr. Ravenstahl is currently the guy in charge and as such his opinions are more pertinent.
Late in the afternoon, Mr. Ravenstahl's administration issued a statement in which he said he is "largely in agreement with the Act 47 plan" but "will not support increasing taxes imposed solely on city residents."
He said there's a real risk that the state will pull the plug on aid if the city doesn't meet the June 30 deadline.
"If council is going to vote down the plan because it does not spend enough, they must also provide leadership on how we are to receive additional revenues," he said in the statement, adding that there "will be far worse cuts and pain suffered by city employees and residents in the form of lost state revenues" without a new plan.
This in full: LINK, bottom of screen.
We are twold there is nothing in the statement concerning the Mayor's intent to comply with the Council's summons.
**-VIDEO LINK: WTAE.