Today a consultant told the Parking Authority that, yes, leasing the parking garages (and possibly metered spots and lots) would be feasible. We’re sure that the Mayor and the Authority breathed a sigh of relief-after all, the legislation passed by the General Assembly last week allows Pittsburgh to increase its parking tax (if it sells all of the garages) and avoid a state takeover of its pensions (not as draconian as it sounds) if it can get its pensions to 50% funded or better by 2011.
Remember that the Mayor first announced the idea of a lease in January. Nowtheconsultant tells the Authority (the agency that actually owns the garages) that it can be done. Then, according to newspaper reports, there are two additional steps: the Authority will issue an RFP to find firms to serve as an advisor for identifying a lessee, then they will actually solicit bids for the lease.
After all that, should a deal materialize, the City then has to notify the DCED that it has sold or leased all of the garages, and the proceeds have been deposited into the PA Municipal Retirement System, and there is notification published in the PA Bulletin, then the City can levy an additional 2.5% parking tax (bringing the rate back up to 40%).
Probably most of this is standard operating procedure: but if there is a genuine sense of urgency (as was displayed by the Mayor and other officials not wanting Pittsburgh to be immediately absorbed into the state system under an earlier incarnation of the legislation) one would think that seeing the legislative requirements the Mayor would urge the Authority to move with some swiftness.