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CITY AND BLUE RIBBON PANEL CHOOSE ADVISORY FIRM FOR RESTRUCTURING OF PWSA
Further assistance to be provided by national nonprofit Mayors Innovation Project
 

PITTSBURGH, PA (April 25, 2017) - The William Peduto administration and a Blue Ribbon Panel of experts have chosen the Infrastructure Management Group (IMG) to manage a possible restructuring of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA). 

 

IMG was one of four finalists that made presentations to the panel and Mayor Peduto in a public meeting in City Council Chambers March 31. A copy of IMG's proposal is available here

 

"After decades of disinvestment and neglect the PWSA is in need of billions of dollars of long-term infrastructure improvements. It can't borrow its way out of the problem, or implement giant rate increases by residents," Mayor Peduto said. "IMG will help us study the best way to keep the city's water asset public, while addressing the improvements that have been ignored for the better part of a century." 

The PWSA board is expected to vote Friday on a joint financing agreement with the City to cover half the contract costs with IMG, and the Peduto administration expects to advance legislation to City Council next week. The final contract, and projected costs, have not yet been finalized. 

The first phase of IMG's work will be an evaluation of the PWSA's operations and needs. That work is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2017, and will contain a series of public meetings to consider full community input on the future of PWSA.  

"I believe we have identified a consultant who will bring all of the necessary resources and expertise to this project in order to fully assess the PWSA, from a financial, legal, operational and infrastructure perspective," said Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel. "IMG is aware that the goal is not to privatize the authority and they are committed to fully engaging the community, and it is crucial that ratepayer voices are represented and heard throughout this process." 

In addition to the work by the Blue Ribbon Panel and IMG, the City and PWSA will soon be receiving advisory help from the nonprofit Mayors Innovation Project, a national network that provides mayors with best practices in public policy. The Innovation Project plans to further serve as a third-party neutral advisor on work by IMG and the Blue Ribbon Panel on the long-term, systematic changes needed at the water authority. 

The Project plans to send Howard Neukrug, the retired CEO of Philadelphia Water and a national expert in drinking water and utility management to study Pittsburgh's water system challenges, as well as Mel Meder, an expert in water management and resilience projects. 

With tentative funding from the Heinz Endowments the Mayors Innovation Project plans to coordinate with IMG and conduct site visits to meet with City and PWSA officials, as well as community stakeholders, to study the water system, and will further study best practices that can be adopted by the authority, as well as insight on its governance structure, and financing options. 

Once completed, their collective findings will be publicly released and presented to the Blue Ribbon Panel, the City and PWSA.  


Source: City of PIttsburgh

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