Pittsburgh will instead use $1 million budgeted for the Public Safety Training Center for the Penn Circle project

The Pittsburgh City Council voted on Tuesday to reallocate $1 million earmarked for a new public safety training center in Lincoln-Lemington to a project that will turn Penn Circle into a two-way street.

Two related pieces of legislation will move $808,000 from Budget 2019 and $192,000 from Budget 2020 to the Penn Circle project.

Officials said they have not abandoned plans to build the public safety training center.

Office of Management and Budget director Jake Pawlak assured board members that the administration intended to replenish the reallocated funds in next year’s capital budget. The administration wanted to reallocate funding now because it is not ready to begin work on the public safety site this year, he said.

Officials plan to build a new training facility on the 168-acre property that previously housed the Pittsburgh Veterans Health System, which closed the complex in 2013.

The reallocated money represents only a portion of what will be needed for this multi-year project. Officials had previously estimated the facility would cost more than $100 million, and Pawlak said they now expect it to cost at least $1 million beyond initial estimates due to the inflation and rising material costs.

Pawlak said the delay will not impact the city’s police operational readiness or ability to train. He offered no timetable for when work on the new public safety training center would begin.

The Penn Circle project is ready to go. With the reallocated funding, work on Penn Circle could begin within about a month, according to Pawlak.

The Pittsburgh City Council has hired a California firm to analyze police force staffing levels and how officers are used.

The city will pay Matrix Consulting Group $180,000 to conduct the study, the first on the police bureau since 2005, according to Jake Pawlak, director of the city’s Office of Management and Budget.

The results will include “a set of recommendations on the number and distribution of officers in different functions and geographic locations, as well as the appropriate ratio of sworn officers to civilians in certain types of roles,” Pawlak told council members. before their last preliminary vote. the week.

Adviser Bobby Wilson said Matrix Consulting has experience analyzing measures such as co-response, where responding officers can be joined by a social worker or other non-officer expert. Pittsburgh employs such measures in its policing.

The results of the study will help the City better understand the staffing needs of the police office and the best ways to use its officers. It will be considered in upcoming labor negotiations with the union representing the city’s police, Pawlak said.

Officials said the study will not impact plans to create a new class of police trainees. These decisions will focus on factors such as the number of officers eligible for retirement, which could reduce the office’s workforce.

The city council voted 8-0 on Tuesday to authorize the study. Councilman Corey O’Connor was not present.

Julia Felton is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Julia at 724-226-7724, jfelton@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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