WILKINSBURG, PA – While the majority of Wilkinsburg elected officials are against the idea, there is currently enough support to discuss the integration of Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh.
Nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition to explore the idea. And the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation plans to take the petition to an Allegheny County judge.
Proponents say taxes have become too heavy a burden that hurts homeowners and prevents development. They also point to the fact that services such as firefighters and garbage are already provided by Pittsburgh.
But Wilkinsburg School Board principal and Wilkinsburg Democratic candidate for mayor, Dontae Comans, says property taxes in Wilkinsburg have actually gone down and that for a borough of 15,000, this community cannot afford to lose. its political identity.
“They raise fire and garbage, as they do for free. We pay them for it. They have to make it make sense, it just can’t be like a button and we become the city and that will make everything better, Comans said.
But Pittsburgh City Comptroller Michael Lamb, who favors this discussion of a possible merger, says Wilkinsburg is not in danger of losing his political identity. On the contrary, he could theoretically gain a stronger support system.
“We took over their Bureau of Fire several years ago, response times are dropping, their costs are dropping, so this has been a very successful consolidation of services, so moving on to the next conversation is quite a bit. makes sense, ”Lamb said. Every neighborhood in Pittsburgh is different, it would become another great Pittsburgh neighborhood.
But Comans and others against the idea say Wilkinsburg can be a great place on its own.
“Once everyone thinks about the community first, we can change a lot of things with that,” Comans said.
If a judge approves the petition, he will then go to Pittsburgh City Council, which will need to approve the annexation proposal. Then it would be considered by another judge and, if approved, it would be put to a vote in a referendum in Wilkinsburg.
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