Connected Peduto: The next mayor teams up with the suburbs

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City Mayor-elect Bill Peduto is a month from taking office and already he’s set his sights on the suburbs. And for good reason.

CONNECT, the Congress of Neighboring Communities, is an association that includes Pittsburgh and its 36 inner-ring suburbs for purposes of finding better ways to deliver key public services, improving the lives of its nearly 690,000 residents and collaborating on enhancing mutual prosperity.

Some of CONNECT’s agenda involves improving efficiency, thereby saving tax dollars, while other aspects seek to raise the quality of life. Mr. Peduto spoke before the organization on Thursday to assure CONNECT that he was in sync with its mission and wanted to join with Pittsburgh’s neighboring towns to upgrade service delivery.

A recent success by the group is the Community Paramedic Program, launched in September, that seeks to reduce emergency room visits by pairing patients with paramedics who will make home visits to help manage chronic health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

This year the five-year-old group also hopes to form a land bank to acquire and develop abandoned properties that sit across municipal boundaries and to carefully monitor the costly sewer upgrades facing Allegheny County.

CONNECT’s efforts are far from the consolidation of tiny and duplicative municipalities, but they stand to improve efficiency and it’s a good sign that Pittsburgh’s next mayor is on board.

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