(Pittsburgh) Feb. 9, 2016Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said legislation recently passed by
County Council instituting a fee schedule for private rentals of a number of County facilities will address
the findings of an audit showing that the County failed to recoup its costs from events held in the
Courthouse Courtyard, Grand Staircase/Gallery area and Gold Room, and the County Office Building Lobby.
“Facilities like our beautiful, historic Courthouse should be readily available to be used and enjoyed
by County residents holding special events, but the taxpayers should not be expected to cover their costs.
Failure by the County to bill for special event costs has likely resulted in thousands of taxpayer dollars lost
over the past few years,” Wagner said. “Putting in place set fees for using these spaces will not only ensure
the County recovers its costs, but will provide transparency and predictability for those who utilize them.”
Records of the County’s Department of Administrative Services showed that from January 2012 through
June 2015, 58 events unrelated to official County business were held in these facilities outside of
normal business hours. Another 97 events were held for which a purpose could not be determined due to
inadequate record keeping. Event organizers should have been billed for staffing costs incurred as a result of
these events, but records showed only one instance of such billing, $367 for a 2014 Labor Day picnic held by
the Service Employees International Union in the Courthouse Courtyard every year.
After Wagner’s audit was launched, the County Executive introduced legislation in County Council to impose
rental and staffing fees for use of a number of County facilities, including those addressed in the audit.
This legislation was enacted last December. The legislation assesses a minimum staffing fee of $404.67
for special events held outside of business hours, along with rental fees.
“My office will continue to monitor the new system for these rentals to ensure it serves both those who
use these facilities and the taxpayers who are their stewards,” Wagner said.
The full Report can be viewedhere.