PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh City Council heard arguments about the idea of Wilkinsburg merging with Pittsburgh during a meeting on Tuesday.
“Pittsburgh getting Wilkinsburg is like buying a house that’s been a little dilapidated,” said Michael Rose. “Wilkinsburg is a diamond in the rough.”READ MORE: AAA Recommends Periodic Car-Washing To Avoid Expensive Rust Damage
“I can’t imagine how we are going to take on Wilkinsburg’s debt, their buildings, their contracts,” one person said. “We are struggling taking care of what we have here.”
A judge recently ruled that a petition for the city to annex Wilkinsburg is valid. Pittsburgh City Council now has about three months to vote on whether to advance the proposed annexation to the final phase: putting it on the ballot in May.
Supporters of the annexation said the merger will lower property taxes in Wilkinsburg and would increase the population of Pittsburgh.
A group against the annexation argues this won’t solve Wilkinsburg’s problems and residents would have to pay more in wage taxes and rent.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Southern Areas Could See More Snow On Wednesday Night
The city of Pittsburgh already provides Wilkinsburg fire protection and trash collection. Schools will become part of the city, but some have already done that.
The president of the city council is still undecided.
“I have a lot of concerns,” Pittsburgh City Council President Theresa-Kail Smith said. “We need to know how this is going to affect our school district. We need to know how this is going to affect our city. We need to know how we are going to work through contracts.”
County executive Rich Fitzgerald and City Councilman Corey O’Connor have endorsed the annexation.MORE NEWS: Man In Critical Condition After Shooting In Pitcairn
Five “yes” votes are needed from the council to pass the proposed merger and get it to a referendum. Pittsburgh City Council has until April 5 to make a decision.