Thursday, January 16, 2014

Seeking the Sinking Fund Commission

City of Pittsburgh is soliciting applications for the various volunteer, as in unpaid, appointments to the boards, commissions and authorities it has cognizance over.  Some may remember a similar solicitation 8 years ago. Then the call was to fill seats on 38 boards and commissions, though the passing of the late Mayor O. seems to me from the outside to have disjointed that process before it went too far.  Nonetheless, with 10 boards being advertised right now, we seem to have lost a few, for now at least. For example, there is no solicitation as yet for Pittsburgh's Sinking Fund Commission. I'm sure that solicitation will come in the next round. You think I jest? It is an important gig. Note that Cleveland's Sinking Fund Commission is far less stealthy with a web site no less, and even has hours of operation and a telephone number.

and no.... the Sinking Fund commission is not a euphemism for the Pension Board. Maybe it should be, but that is another topic.

I also wonder what this all means for the future of the Stadium(less) Authority which may be getting new board members. Time to wind down the Stadium Authority is it not? The stadium it was created to fund is long gone, but neither the notional local government it spawned (the Stadium Authority is itself a public authority like so many others), nor even an old web site, will go away.

Some say merge the Stadium Authority into the SEA, with which it shares a staff, director and offices.  Problem there is the SEA has joint city and county governance, whereas the Stadium Authority is entirely a vestige of the city.  In the end it is all about debt and who owes what and under what covenants. If anything, the Stadium authority is more likely to be absorbed by the URA if the legal beagles can figure out how to negotiate that.

I've said this before, but the future is all about what happens on the board of the PWSA.


Anonymous BrianTH said...

Another reason not to fold the Stadium Authority into the SEA is that it owns the garage and parking lots between the stadiums. Right now that doesn't mean much since everything is leased and all the development rights are tied up contractually, but it might be possible to unwind some of that at some point, and I would really rather not have the SEA be in control at that point.

Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You cannot end or merge the Stadium Authority because it still has DEBT. The last thing you want to do is give that debt to another well-functioning authority like the URA. We all just have to be patient while the Stadium Authority pays off it's debts through its parking garage income (which was the plan from the beginning) . Then they can get rid of it.

Monday, January 20, 2014 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

So there is no conceivable way the URA could buy the lots (or whatever rights they have to those lots that is) and defease the debt to free up final liquidation of the public entity?

I'm pretty sure it's not the debt in itself that has kept the stadium authority in business all these years.. or at least not any longer. Realize the URA is in the business of distressed real estate almost by definition. I don't think parcels near the prime riverfront real estate of the now uber-hot Pittsburgh market even count as distressed any longer.

It is a longer topic to discuss what is going to happen if the options on the lots are exercised and money comes into the SA and what the authority will do with it if not defease their debt.

Monday, January 20, 2014 1:15:00 PM  

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