Residents give input on future of PWSA

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PITTSBURGH - Frustrated people in Pittsburgh are outlining the changes they want to see in the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

The utility's director hopes the future will involve more independence from the city, a concept the auditor general agreed with in his recent audit.

Everyone knows the problems facing the PWSA: crumbling infrastructure, hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and a long history of mismanagement.

But interim executive director Bob Weimar believes the way the utlitity is managed could be critical to its future.


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"We need to have the ability to run a business. Were we to do that, I think the city would be happier and the ratepayers would be happier," Weimar said.

An audit released Wednesday by the auditor general raised concern about the city's influence over the PWSA.

Of the seven PWSA board members, four are city employees, including City Councilwoman Deb Gross.

All board members are selected by the mayor and approved by the City Council.

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The auditor general and Weimar believe that structure, which is written in city code, should change.

"We think that the independence is essential in order for us to have a board that has the freedom to act without having to ask for permission." Weimar said.

Channel 11 asked Mayor Bill Peduto about the issue after the audit was released.

He believes some of the recommendations on how the PWSA is governed should be looked at, but says the utility faces more pressing issues.

"The recommendations the auditor general made for moving forward will take precedence," Peduto said.


 

 

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