Strategic planning is a major thrust of the Borough. Wilkinsburg is one of the first communities in the state to combine an update of the comprehensive plan with financial planning through the State’s Early Intervention Program (EIP).
The EIP provides the Borough with a team of consultants to look at all of its financial practices, look for ways to increase revenues and decrease expenditures in order to become more fiscally responsible and financially sound. The goal of the program is to provide a framework for five year budgeting in order to ensure that the Borough does not need to go back into Act 47, which it was in from 1988 to 1998. Combining the EIP with the Comprehensive Plan update, will result in a financially attainable plan that will serve as an active plan rather than just a set of guidelines. The Borough received a $250,000 grant from the State to cover the costs of the Comprehensive Plan/EIP and awarded the contract to a consulting team headed by Delta Development, Inc. Input will be solicited through numerous community meetings, dialogue with key community stakeholders, and oversight by a project steering committee and subcommittees. The new Comprehensive Plan, called the Wilkinsburg Plan, should be completed in the spring of 2010. Download a flyer about public meetings for the Wilkinsburg Plan here.
Additionally, in 2008, the Borough completed a long term plan for street maintenance to help guide the use of paving monies and make it easier to budget and plan for what are usually quite costly street paving and repairs. The Borough also completed a list of all vacant properties in the municipality in order to create a long term plan for demolishing those properties that are not salvagable, and stabilizing those that are. By planning more proactively, the Borough intends to create a roadmap for positive change to improve the infrastructure, financial stability and service delivery of the government.
Sustainability is a major focus of planning efforts. The Borough has obtained $470,000 in grant money to perform much needed repairs to the Borough building. The work includes replacing windows and the boiler to make the building more efficient and less expensive to heat. The Borough is also exploring replacing all the bulbs in its traffic signals with LED bulbs which are much more efficient. The Borough recognizes that environmentally friendly ideas often have the benefit of reducing costs, allowing the Borough to provide better service to the residents. For more information, have a look at this report from a project with H. John Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon