Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto wants to hold concert promoters accountable for what the city spends to control crowds and clean up trash left in the wake of special events.
“The taxpayers simply cannot bear the cost of this anymore and that's the balance we're looking to strike,” city chief of staff Kevin Acklin said at a news conference Monday.
According to Acklin, Saturday night's Luke Bryan concert at Heinz Field cost the city “tens of thousands of dollars.”
He said a precise figure was not available because expenses are being totaled. Officials are examining what legal avenues the city could pursue to recoup the cost.
“It was an awesome concert, but it’s disgusting how much trash and everything was left around here,” said Angela Episcopo.
Police responded to more than 300 incidents at the concert, which was the first in Bryan's “That's My Kind of Night” tour. They made at least seven arrests. Public works crews spent much of the day Sunday cleaning up “mountains of garbage.”
Acklin said the city is working on a policy that would ask promoters, in advance, to agree to pay for clean-up efforts. The city is considering limiting tailgating hours. Music fans showed up to party on the North Shore as many as eight hours before the concert. Parking lots opened at 11 a.m., but some fans arrived earlier.
“The taxpayers of Pittsburgh will not be held with the cost of any event that has been poorly managed,” Acklin said.
Some taxpayers Channel 11 News spoke with said they agree they shouldn’t have to foot the bill.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Wayne Brosek said about the mayor’s plan to pass the cost along to the event organizers.
Acklin said the goal of any new policy is not to target a specific type of event or discourage concert tours from coming to Pittsburgh.
“We're cognizant that we want to be open for business,” Acklin said. “We built these stadiums to accommodate these kind of events.”
Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.