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Innovation & Startups

Debate tonight at Pitt : To merge or not to merge city and county governments

Promising an innovative format, the William Pitt Debating Union (WPDU) will host a public debate addressing the future of Pittsburgh tonight, April 18th, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Graduate School of Public Health’s Parran Hall, auditorium room G-23.

“Should Pittsburgh Merge its City and County Governments” will include a wide range of experts and plenty of time for audience participation, says Gordon Mitchell, debate director.

“We’re actually trying a new format never used in a public debate,” he explains. “The vast majority of discussions have focused on the issue of merging city and county without talk of the remaining 130 suburban municipalities. There is a narrower issue that is important. Secondly, we’ve got new voices coming into the debate, asking questions, and giving speeches.”

With more than 900 local governments in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, statistically speaking, Pittsburgh ranks as one of the most fragmented metro areas in the nation. Some view this institutional independence as positive while others feel that governmental consolidation would provide better services at a lower cost.

The WPDU debate marks the first of many debates to come, thanks to a generous gift from WPDU alumna Marcella Finegold (CAS '37). The first cycle of Pitt's Debating Union series will explore the “Future of Pittsburgh.” 

The debate can be viewed live at http://mediasite.cidde.pitt.edu.

Writer: Debra Diamond Smit
Source: Gordon Mitchell, Pitt

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