Pittsburgh parks propose tax

Cole Hall, North Campus Staff

Last month, the Pittsburgh City Council met to discuss a tax proposal geared towards restoring parks around Pittsburgh. This tax proposal would add an additional half-million of property tax revenue, allotted explicitly for the renovation of local parks. Professional petition circulators began collecting signatures in mid-June, and the tax is expected to be placed on the November ticket for voters to decide.

According to Jayne Miller, the president and CEO of Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory, the tax increase would cost property owners $50 for every $100,000 of assessed value, with the goal of generating $10 million in total annual tax revenue allotted for park restoration. Lisa Knochel is a local resident who lives near Riverview Park. When asked about the proposed tax Knochel said, “I’m all for it. The roads are falling apart in the park. It’s about time. I used to walk around the park all the time. Now it’s not safe.”

During the council meeting some attendees, including Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb, had concerns regarding the elderly and low-income homeowners. One concern is that they are already overburdened. Those who voiced concerns suggested to fund the renovations by way of annual budget allocations. “We live in a city which is one of the highest tax for real estate purposes in the country and now you want to add another tax on,” said Lamb.

Others voiced questions of the necessity of the proposed renovations. When questioned about the matter, Mayor Bill Peduto stated “We have disinvested so far from our neighborhood playgrounds, our courts, our parks that they are now in such a state of disrepair that they need a major overhaul, just like when they were created over 100 years ago,” he said. “Our goal is to have a great park system in the city that will be something that would make people want to live in the city.”