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Ed Gainey says review of tax-exempt properties will bring nonprofits to 'pay their fair share'

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey in his office on June 8, 2022.
Kiley Koscinski
90.5 WESA
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey makes his administration's first budget address to City Council Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.

On today’s episode of The Confluence: 

The city’s Law and Finance Departments will review tax-exempt properties held by nonprofits
(0:00 - 10:21)

City and county leaders often like to salute this region’s “eds and meds” industries. But the universities, medical complexes and health systems own 34% of the tax-exempt properties in the city, meaning they pay no property taxes.

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey issued an executive order to begin a citywide review of properties held by nonprofits, excluding religious institutions, to determine whether they should be added to the tax rolls. Nonprofits will be assessed with a five-prong test established by the state to determine if they are a “purely public charity.” Those that pass can continue to have tax-exempt properties.

“We have infrastructures such as bridges, such as street garbage pickup and understanding that they [nonprofits] all benefit from the service to the city, the core city, we all have a responsibility to ensure that we're paying our fair share,” says Gainey. “Everybody that is not a purely charitable organization should pay their fair share so that we can continue to grow the city, have resources necessary, and that's why we're going down this road.”

City Solicitor Krysia Kubiak says if the top 50 nonprofits with tax-exempt properties paid taxes, it would net the city an additional $36 million annually.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority welcomes a new executive director 
(10:28 - 17:35)

The Urban Redevelopment Authority has a new executive director. Greg Flisram left late last year to re-enter the private sector as a consultant and Susheela Nemani-Stanger has stepped into the role.

Nemani-Stanger first joined the URA in 2007, before leaving in 2020 to partner with WQED on a COVID-19 vaccine hesitation public health campaign.

One ongoing project Nemani-Stanger has inherited is development of the Lower Hill, but distrust between developers and residents has hindered progress.

“Building trust is all about open communication… With any district-wide development, it is an absolute marathon and the Lower Hill development as a district-wide development has proven to be this ultra marathon of sorts,” says Nemani-Stanger. “With those types of marathons, you know, there's a lot of fatigue and exhaustion, and that is not to be underestimated.”

Pittsburgh teenagers just want to find their own safe space 
(17:40 - 22:30)

There’s been tension Downtown for the past few months as business owners say teenagers are increasingly disruptive and causing safety issues. 90.5 WESA’s Sarah Schneider talked with students about their place in the neighborhood, and their own safety concerns.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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