It's time the Pennsylvania Legislature grows a pair and does to Allegheny County what it did to Philadelphia County in 1854

I would not try to decipher the image I have uploaded at the bottom of this OP. Just suffice it to say that it is Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, in all its cluster ■■■■■■ glory.

And a cluster ■■■■ is the only way to describe Allegheny County.

1 County Government
4 City Governments
84 Boroughs
42 Townships
45 School Districts

Cities + Boroughs + Townships add up to 130 total municipal governments.

Adding in school districts and the county itself and you have 176 governments.

If we follow the model for Philadelphia, consolidation would drop that to one consolidated county/city plus a countywide school district, total two governments.

The result would be called the County and City of Pittsburgh. The resulting school district would be called Pittsburgh Public Schools. I would set up a governing structure for the consolidated County/City similar to what currently used for Allegheny County.

Unfortunately, there is not enough testosterone in Harrisburg to accomplish such a feat.

In the alternative, do this:

Abolish the townships and incorporate their functions into the county. Incorporate the boroughs closest to Pittsburgh into Pittsburgh, those nearest the other three cities into those cities and consider consolidating or abolishing other small boroughs. Finally, consolidate school districts in accordance with municipal consolidation.

But I would prefer Option 1, which would wipe out 174 governments. Getting rid of 174 governments sounds like a damn fine goal to me.

While consolidation is not the appropriate solution for ever county, Pittsburgh is perhaps the metropolitan area in the country where consolidation would be the most appropriate solution, with Hillsborough County, Florida and Orange County, Florida bringing up second and third place.

Again, don’t try to decipher the image below too hard, you may give yourself a stroke. :smile:

Sigh, welcome to Pennsylvania.

When you clean up Allegheny County, can you please get rid of the Liquor Control Board? It would be nice to have private alcohol stores with employees that actually know their wine and liquor… and stores with an actual selection.

I was just down in Naples and went to Total Wine… you just have no idea how ■■■■■■ the PA stores are until you’ve spent 30 seconds in one. Just an amazing experience.


Using Philadelphia as the example of efficient honest government and a model school system to be emulated is not a promising start for the OP.


You do NC.

We will do Allegheny county. It is fine just the way it is with maybe just some of the smaller boroughs consolidating. I celebrate diversity of government.


Fox Chapel, USC peeps and the like (and about 15 others in there) would revolt if their school districts were combined with Pittsburgh Public Schools, Penn Hills, etc.

You’d have to pitch this with a massive reduction in Allegheny County’s high property taxes, else both the muckity mucks and the yinzers would line up dahntahn Harrisburg n’at.

Most suburban municipalities are decently well run and enjoy positive local involvement.

Government always runs best at the local level.

This won’t be changing. The current city mayor cannot even get the snow cleared from the streets after just a couple medium sized storms.

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I’m for the people in Pittsburg doing what they want. If they decide to merge some of those units, the state shouldn’t, and I assume wouldn’t, stand in their way. True Democracy, of the kind we can’t expect to reach on a national scale, may better be approximated in small groups with similar interests. Where I live, i want my suburban school district.

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Ya, Total Wine is kool and in our local one everyone is very helpful to newbies.

My daughter brought some “Iced Wine” to Christmas the year before last. So while she is in Germany now we thought it would be nice to repeat. Went there clueless and they were very helpful.

It’s where I stop in for some Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale.


It’s not a lack of testosterone, there’s laws that were passed after Pittsburgh hostilely annexed Allegheny City in like 1900 that require a plebiscite to agree to consolidation and the winning line is intentionally set to be almost impossible. Like three quarters of the affected municipalities have to vote for it at something nuts like sixty five percent or more.

Pittsburgh can’t consolidate. There were laws written a hundred twenty years ago that make it basically impossible.

I have long supported the abolition of the Liquor Control Board and “normal” liquor distribution in Pennsylvania.

This happened already postwar. It was close but it failed because the law is made to make it impossible. That was the last chance.

I understand the popularity. I like the PLCB and keeping alcohol sales out of the grocery stores.

Beer and wine are slowly breaking down the restrictions.

Not me, I hate the PLCB. Why shouldn’t I be able to walk into a Wawa and buy a cold bottle of beer like I can down south? No other reason than politician wanting control of what you can and can’t do.

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Yes. I get it.

Personally I find alcohol to be pervasive enough in our culture so having it away from children in grocery stores to me is a positive situation. If alcohol is pervasive in that child’s home…I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

I would not fight the change, just not a fan.

I don’t care about grocery stores… I just want an actual selection as opposed to the scraps they make us choose from.

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I meant to reply to this post and never did.

Yes, on the surface, Philadelphia County presents a bad example. And it is a mess.


There is an very wide difference in circumstances between Philadelphia County and Allegheny County. Moreover, there is a county in a much more similar position to that of Allegheny County and that is Duval County, Florida.

Philadelphia County is 143 square miles, the second smallest county by area in Pennsylvania. Meaning that it encompasses the urban core of the Philadelphia metro area and ONLY the urban core. It is severed from its suburbs and exurbs and even much of its industrial base by not only county lines, but by the State line.

Allegheny County is 745 square miles and already encompasses the urban core of Pittsburgh, virtually all its industrial base, its suburbs and several of its exurbs, in addition to rural areas.

With that said, lets go to the example of Duval County, Florida. Duval County was a patchwork of many cities and towns with Jacksonville at its center. It was disorganized. It was corrupt. Parochialism reigned supreme. Then the corruption exploded into a major scandal in the mid 1960’s. And for once, the Florida Legislature struck while the iron was hot. They passed legislation and a consolidation referendum was held, which was overwhelmingly approved. The consolidation became effective in 1968 and the consolidated City of Jacksonville and Duval County prospered since then, free of corruption and parochialism. The Jacksonville we know today would not have been possible without consolidation.

Duval County and the City of Jacksonville present the valid model for what Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh could become with consolidation.

The issues that hold back Philadelphia County are inapplicable to Allegheny County.

While consolidation in and of itself was not a magic bullet for Duval County, it opened the door for cohesive policies that turned Jacksonville around.

I think that would be the case for Pittsburgh as well.

And I think it would be the case for many other areas, for example Orange County/Orlando, Hillsborough County/Tampa, Miami-Dade County/Miami.

I would note that Georgia, in the face of declining rural population, is looking at consolidating counties, reducing its total number of counties and in some cases forcibly merging them with municipalities. Dwindling rural populations may force some political hands.

Looking at your map I was going to ask where is Pittsburgh even at? Finally found after a minute :rofl:


New York State is a cluster ■■■■ when it comes to courts.

Pennsylvania is a cluster ■■■■ when it comes to municipalities.

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When you move to Allegheny County then you will have an opportunity to see first hand what is and is not working.

Until then take care of your patch and we will take care of ours.