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Going Through the Motions

We sit through City Council so you don't have to.

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City officials are hoping that more jobs for youngsters and more cops on the beat will make Pittsburgh a little safer this summer.

"Safe Summer Pittsburgh" is a two-pronged approach featuring a 250-position summer-jobs program combined with an increased beat-cop program in all six police zones throughout the season. The cost of the jobs program is about $725,000 and the cost of the beat cops will be about $540,000.

The program was announced at a May 5 press conference with city officials.

Councilor Ricky Burgess said there are "two types of young people active in our neighborhoods" -- the responsible and the irresponsible. For the former, the city is providing minimum-wage jobs cleaning up and beautifying city lots. For the irresponsible kids, there will be more police officers on the street trying to catch them in the act.

"We believe responsible youth will be encouraged and hope irresponsible youth will be reformed," Burgess said. "We believe with the proper investment and instruction, all young people can be successful. So next year, during a safer summer with responsible youth encouraged and other youth transformed perhaps all we'll need to fund is the youth employment component."

However, for now, in addition to seeing youth working across the city, there will also be three additional officers either walking or biking the beat (each zone currently has two beat officers). The additional officers will receive overtime pay.

The programs will be funded through Community Development Block Grant monies, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) and the Pittsburgh Foundation.

Upcoming Public Hearings

On Mon., May 19, Council will hold a public hearing regarding changes to the city's residential parking-permit program. Councilor Patrick Dowd brought the legislation forward earlier this year.

Currently, residents in some city neighborhoods pay $20 per year for a sticker that allows them to park in their neighborhoods; visitors who park their cars for more than a couple of hours in the permit areas get $25 citations. Under Dowd's legislation, the fee for a resident permit would stay the same, but tickets for non-residents would jump to $35. Dowd's bill would also increase the fee for a short-term visitor's pass from $1 to $10.

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