Erie consultant breaks the bad news: ‘The city is broke’

By Yaël Ossowski | September 25, 2015 | Watchdog.org The city of Erie is in desperate times, and a consultant hired to map a positive future isn’t optimistic. “The plan I am trying to write is a plan to get the city out of the hole it is in,” Charles Buki told Watchdog.org. An urban architect — and miracle worker of sorts — Buki and his colleagues from the urban planning firm CZB are brought into cities with stressed finances and lackluster infrastructure. They’ve had big contracts with the Fannie Mae Foundation, the Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago, the Federal […]

Erie’s 10-year ‘comprehensive plan’ consultants cost over $100,000

By Yaël Ossowski | September 18, 2015 | Watchdog.org Hoping to leap into the future, Erie will spend over $100,000 to pay consultants to draw up a 10-year comprehensive plan to revitalize the city and “bring it into the future.” The total amount of $137,880, approved preliminarily by the city council in February, will be paid to consulting firm CZB, an Alexandria, Virginia-based urban planning firm. As revealed in a 2005 presentation by Pennsylvania Governor’s Center for Local Government Services, the main purpose of these plans is to give a city “priority consideration in state funding,” meaning it can get […]