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Few Surprises In Preliminary 2020 City Budget

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Sarah Kovash
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90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto released preliminary operating and capital budgets for 2020 on Tuesday. The operating budget envisions spending an estimated $605 million next year. That's about 5 percent higher than the year before, with larger percentage hikes in the public safety spending, with the budget rising from $105 million to $115 million for police, and a hike from $76 million to $87 million for fire. 

Tim McNulty from Mayor Bill Peduto's office said the increases are largely due to a "calendar quirk." 

City employees are paid every other Friday, and in 2020 "there's an extra Friday, so we're paying everybody more," he said. "[S]ince there's more police and firefighters than any other employee group, it makes it seem like we're paying them a bunch of extra money." 

The budget also includes a previously scheduled hike in the deed transfer tax, which is applied when property changes hands. The tax will increase from 4.5 percent to 5 percent in January, a final installment on a 2017 plan to provide more money for affordable housing initiatives. 
 
Peduto will produce a final budget proposal in November, after which City Council will hold hearings and vote on the measure. A budget must be passed by year's end.