PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Allegheny County officials and state representatives joined Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald Thursday morning, to explain a report that would help municipalities struggling financially.
“You have hundreds of other little communities that will never be able to change their tax base, they’re simply not growing like the City of Pittsburgh with a lot of opportunities and they need a mechanism other than being a ward of the state,” James Roddey, a former Allegheny County executive, said.
Allegheny County has 130 municipalities, more than any other county in the state and second in the nation. Giving the smaller, poorer municipalities, the option to voluntarily disincorporate would allow them to have services such as police and public works provided by Allegheny County.
The dis-incorporated municipalities would no longer have a mayor or a borough council.
“With economies of scale, the county can probably do this for no more than they are paying now or less,” Roddey said.
The Allegheny County leaders say it’s important to note that this proposal, if approved, would be voluntary. None of the county municipalities would be forced to dis-incorporate.
Right now, there are four municipalities in Allegheny County that are listed under Act 47 – the state’s option for towns and boroughs with financial hardship. Allegheny County leaders think their proposal is a better idea, because county services are more easily accessible and affordable, and the municipalities’ property tax base could help the county cover the cost of providing services.
Dan Onorato, another former Allegheny County executive said, “We now need some tools and the municipalities need some tools to deal with the economy of the 21st century and where things are going.”