Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Council Wants More Detail on New Budget

With very little discussion the Pittsburgh City Council voted Wednesday to delay taking a preliminary vote on the revised 2010 budget. The spending plan is the second submitted by the Ravenstahl administration. The Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority rejected the first budget because it felt the tuition tax was illegal, which threw the budget out of balance. The new plan includes $13.5 million dollars in new cuts and revenue enhancements. City Council Budget Committee Chair Bill Peduto says he and the members of the ICA have three main concerns. He says he needs to see more detail on the cuts being made. He says it is not enough to say there will be “equipment savings.” He says he wants to know exactly what equipment will not be purchased. The same goes for personnel maters. And Peduto says he wants to see the changes inserted directly into the budget not on a few pieces of paper submitted to the council. Peduto says he also wants to talk to the mayor about his revenue predictions. The mayor added a total of 6.4 million dollars into the budget by increasing lines such as income from deed transfers, income tax and delinquent tax collection. Peduto says he thinks the mayor is leaving a few million out of the budget that the city can reasonable expect to collect. Finally, Peduto says the ICA wants to make sure the mayor’s plan to add $4.1 million to the budget from the use of debt escrow funds would only come as a last ditch effort. He says the authority wants to put a stipulation that the funds would not be tapped until the 3rd or 4th quarter of the year, and only if all other options are exhausted. Peduto says the council, ICA, Act 47 team and the mayor’s office are working on the questions and he expects everything to be settled in time for the budget to be passed by the end of the year.

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