Monday, December 3, 2012

Pensions & Parking Linkage slipping, slipping...

The Australian;

Everybody loves parking fo' free! Several like the idea of the City staying in the black.

... [N]oting the need to generate additional revenue, council President Darlene Harris said she wants to return nighttime enforcement to the seven neighborhoods. At a budget hearing last week, Mrs. Harris told David Onorato, the authority's executive director, to prepare for the additional hours.

However, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Councilman Bill Peduto, neither of whom attended the hearing, later said they would prefer to keep the citywide enforcement cutoff at 6 p.m. (P-G, Joe Smydo; h/t Chris Potter)

Bill Peduto's June 2011 open letter (all things being equal) provides a fairly good historical review for beginners of how pension funding and parking rates came to be linked. There is a lot of disagreement over the precise method, but there was general agreement between those two individuals and much of Pittsburgh at that time that the public parking system needs to increase revenues for the sake of crushing pension obligations.

So now are we to understand we're out of the woods?

Or do we have other, more grand solutions to the pensions crisis in mind -- ones which will not include significantly increased parking revenue as a serious component? Pittsburgh awaits.

A word care of the liberal and excellent Keystone Politics:

TRON: Disney Movies Guide
BONUS CONTENT:  By popular demand, here is some good news care of Luke and Co.:

Mr. Ravenstahl, Google, the University of Pittsburgh and other partners today will announce plans for the "Steel City Codefest," a competition to develop the coolest, most-useful apps for city residents, businesses and visitors...

The competition is an outgrowth of PowerUp Pittsburgh, his initiative to grow the city's tech economy. (P-G, Joe Smydo, II)

The fact that Google's offices lie in Bakery Square in Larimer underscores this event's status for many as a Ravenstahl coup. For the record Peduto has also for some time cast himself as a hero of Bakery Square, though not of every decision made along the way.


  1. "You need to remind people of what good government looks like," said city Controller Michael Lamb

    Yes, someday. I don't quite see how rolling back parking meter enforcement distinguishes anyone as more fiscally responsible or less likely cave to political impulses.

    Of course, the Mayor didn't raise rates at garages either so maybe fretting over dollars was a unique 2010 situation all around.

  2. Uh, can someone explain to me how we can proclaim victory on a pension plan that relies on parking revenue and then do everything we can to deprive the City of said parking revenue?

  3. Well 8:05, we're already collecting enough from the parking tax under current conditions to cover what we have already dedicated from it to the pension funds back during the midnight state takeover aversion plan.

    I believe the rate increases were supposed to provide pensions support on an ongoing basis so as to place the sinking funds on an upward trajectory from "56%" instead of what would otherwise be a resumption of decline from "56%".

    So that's probably what's leaving the picture. What is replacing it? Union concessions? Tax increases and service cuts? Mind control over Harrisburg? Steering into the black hole? A secret plan to save the pension funds?

  4. THAT'S RIGHT!!!

    At the midnight pension takeover solution, Council at first attempted to dedicate funds directly from the Parking Authority via PILOT payments -- so it also legislated rate increases and nighttime enforcement to make that affordable.

    After the Parking Authority replied, "You can't make us do that, possibly because of our bondholder agreements", Council switched its funding source to the Local Services Tax. And when THAT turned out to be infeasible for whatever reason they switched again to the Parking Tax.

    But they left the parking rate increases in the mix because well, it seemed like common sense by that point. That parking tax revenue had been going somewhere, surely it would have to be replaced.

    And so -- and I'm sure this comes as a shock to no one, and if it does it's better that you know it now -- the whole reason we were threatened with nighttime enforcement was because of legislation sponsored by Councilman Peduto and vetoed by Mayor Ravenstahl.

    It's funny. It appears Council almost passed a bill at the same time, mandating that the Controller report every six months on how parking revenues are coming. That didn't make it into the final mix.

  5. Here is comes ... Buncher and ... MURPHY, MURPHY, MURPHY!!!


  7. Video highlights of Murphy's presentations today,AAABAWGN-5E~,qpDkffrm8g8Gb3FcY-LgpN3iS3KJUKdd&bctid=2013801198001

  8. If Murphy's against it, it's must be a good plan. He's the Mayor who spent all that tax money on he stadiums, bankrupted the city and spent our money on Lazaus and department stores that closed as soon as hey opened- and he tried to tear down most of Downtown for another mall!

  9. Well, two of the three stadiums. And he shares credit for "bankrupting" the City with at least four others -- though perhaps he deserves sole credit for starting to fix it.