Pittsburgh’s Parking Authority rejected City Council’s plan to save the city’s pension fund Thursday.
It’s a victory for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, but that may not prevent a state takeover of the city’s pension plan.
“I don’t support this plan. I will not support this plan,” Ravenstahl said. “If you move forward with it, not only is it in my opinion a waste of time, it would also be a waste of taxpayers’ dollars because we will not support it.”
With that, the mayor made it clear what he wanted the Parking Authority Board to do.
“My belief is that this is a good idea for the parking authority but I’m not asking you to rely on my belief,” Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb said. “We’re asking you to take a look at this, do the proper examination and make your decision based on that.”
Lamb told them what was on the table was just an independent review of the plan so they could make their own decision.
Council wanted the Parking Authority to buy certain city parking assets for $220 million, but there’s been a dispute over the cost of borrowing that money, and there was a dispute Thursday over paying for consultants to review the proposal.
“It may prove that it’s not the right thing or it may prove that it’s the right thing but it has to be from us,” Michael Jasper, a member of the Parking Authority Board, said.
“It’s an irresponsible addition of debt to the authority and nearly quadruples the authority’s debt 370 percent and if not actually bankrupting the authority will severely handicap the authority for decades to come,” Scott Kunka, also a board member, said.
The resolution died 3-2.
“The board did a good thing today and once and for all put an end to the discussion about this irresponsible debt,” Ravenstahl said.
“This was a vote to ask the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to get the facts themselves, to get an independent analysis and at the end of the day we couldn’t get that,” Natalia Rudiak, a city council member, said.