DMI Blog

Karin Dryhurst

Progressive Pittsburgh

Last month we highlighted Pittsburgh's prevailing wage for economic development at our Marketplace of Ideas forum. But this month brings another law to benefit low- and moderate-income Pittsburgh residents:

Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday enacted a bill designed to allocate more resources to the city's most troubled neighborhoods.

Councilman Ricky Burgess sponsored the bill, which would change the way the city uses locally raised capital dollars in tandem with federal Community Development Block Grants.

The city's annual Block Grant allocation is about $17 million.

As required by federal law, Mr. Burgess said, the city uses Block Grant funds on projects in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. But he said the city takes away with the other hand -- and introduced his bill to halt that practice, known as supplanting.

Mr. Burgess said Block Grant funds should be used to augment local funds. Instead, he said, the city has been using Block Grant money to provide basic services in poor neighborhoods and spending the local money in more affluent neighborhoods.

Mr. Burgess said Tuesday's unanimous vote reversed a 30-year process of underfunding some neighborhoods and called it a move toward spending CDBG money the way the federal government intended.

"I think its impact is significant," he said.

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Posted at 4:07 PM, Jun 23, 2010 in Cities
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