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Community Groups Seek Input on City Spending

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
By Joe Smydo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

About two dozen Pittsburgh residents and community leaders showed up at the City-County Building this morning to demand more public input and other changes to the city’s capital budget process.

Many attended a press conference by Councilman Ricky Burgess, who has introduced bills to ensure that more city dollars are spent in poor neighborhoods and to ensure that community groups get a bigger say in which projects get funded.

Community groups are the “ground troops,” Mr. Burgess said. “They are in the best position to tell us what the needs are.”

Black Political Empowerment Project and North Side Coalition For Fair Housing said they supported Mr. Burgess’ legislation.

Ronell Guy, coalition executive director, said North Side neighborhoods aren’t getting their fair share of city and federal investment dollars, even as other neighborhoods thrive.

“There’s no way we can keep up with the limited resources that we have,” she said.

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak also has introduced legislation to refine the capital planning process and give the public greater input.

Aggie Brose, deputy director of Bloomfield-Garfield Corp., said she’s pleased that two council members are “singing the same song.”

Both council members’ legislation will be discussed at council’s standing committee meeting today.

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