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December 8, 2005

Pitt joins non-profit consortium to aid city

Pitt will be contributing an undisclosed amount of money to the city’s coffers over the next three years, as part of a consortium of city non-profit organizations.

An agreement brokered by the mayor’s office in August between the city and the Pittsburgh Public Service Fund was ratified Nov. 21 by Pittsburgh City Council. The agreement calls for the more than 100 participating universities, hospitals, foundations and other charities to pay voluntarily a total of $13.2 million in revenue over three years, including $4.6 million this year. The fund is being administered through The Pittsburgh Foundation.

Under the contract, contributors, including Pitt, would be freed from existing agreements they have with the city to make payments in lieu of taxes.

As a trade-off for its property tax-exempt status, Pitt has made payments to the city voluntarily for years for city services such as fire protection and road construction.

At the request of City Council during its debate over the new contract, the mayor’s office released the names and amounts that 10 non-profits, including Pitt, have been paying to the city annually in lieu of taxes. Pitt’s existing agreement calls for annual fees of $2,688, according to the mayor’s office.

University officials would not disclose the amount Pitt has agreed to give under the new contract. “That was the agreement we made going in, that the members of the Pittsburgh Public Service Fund would not make public any of their contributions,” said G. Reynolds Clark, vice chancellor of community and governmental relations, who also is co-vice chair of the service fund.

It is unclear what will happen after the three-year agreement expires, Clark said. “It’s really premature to say. This fund is designed to help the city get back on its feet in the short term,” he said.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 38 Issue 8

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