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Peduto Announces Long-Term Facilities Maintenance Plan

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Tuesday issued an executive order aimed at repairing and maintaining the city’s aging public safety, public works and parks facilities.

The order coincided with a previously planned City Council post-agenda meeting with administration officials and leaders from the city’s three public safety unions.

Chief Operations Officer Guy Costa said the administration has identified more than 300 different city-owned facilities, including parks, playgrounds, senior and recreation centers and fire, police and emergency medical services stations.

According to a statement released by the mayor’s office, such a list did not exist when Peduto took office last January.

Ralph Sicuro, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local No.1, provided City Council members and administration officials with recent images of needed repairs across the city’s 30 fire stations.

He pointed to leaking roofs, sewage backups, black mold, foundation cracks and other problems.

“Again, these did not happen just today,” Sicuro said. “It is not the fault of this administration as to where we’re at right now, but unfortunately it’s laid in their lap to address these problems.”

The plan to address the problem includes three phases.

Phase I identifies 12 facilities with critical repairs to be completed by the end of this summer at a cost of $1.6 million.

Phase I - City of Pittsburgh Facilities Plan

Phase II, which is already underway, involves evaluating the use and purpose of each facility so it can be used for its “best and highest purpose,” according to Office of Management and Budget Director Sam Ashbaugh. He said that could mean consolidating different functions of city government into fewer buildings or allowing community groups to take over buildings, as well as pursuing energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives.

Phase III includes the creation of a 40-year maintenance schedule for all city-owned facilities. Ashbaugh said the city will use facilities management software to make data-driven decisions about identifying budget priorities.

“So if HVAC equipment has a twenty year life cycle, for instance, and we replace it in 2010, we need to know that in 2030 we’re probably going to have to replace it, and we want to have that budget and plan,” Ashbaugh said.

Public Works Director Mike Gable said staffing continues to be an ongoing issue. He said he has 28 people on the public works staff, versus 48 people on staff 30 years ago.

“I’ve got one bricklayer for the whole city. Most of the problems you’ve shown up there are plumbing,” Gable said, referring to the presentation by fire union president Ralph Sicuro. “I have four plumbers for the whole city. I have three painters.”

Ashbaugh, Costa and Gable said they are counting on buy-in from City Council when it comes to the budgeting process.

Present at the meeting were Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, who called for the post-agenda back in April, Council President Bruce Kraus and Councilwoman Deb Gross. All lent enthusiastic support to the initiative.

Liz Reid began working at WESA in 2013 as a general assignment reporter and weekend host. Since then, she’s worked as the Morning Edition producer, health & science reporter and as an editor.