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County Councilman Offers Alternative 2013 Budget

Allegheny County Councilman Michael Finnerty has drafted a 2013 operating budget that offers higher spending levels for the County Controller, the sheriff's office, and the Department of Human Services.

Finnerty said his plan takes roughly $236,000 from the "fringe benefits recovery" line item to pay for those spending increases. The millage rate of 4.73 and overall spending amount of $799.4 million in the Finnerty budget remain identical to the plan offered by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

Finnerty said the largest spending change would be an extra $200,000 given to the office of County Controller Chelsa Wagner.

"I think it's important that she has that extra money -- and it's not extra money, actually. It's just trying to make her [budget] whole, almost, from what was cut from her budget," said Finnerty.

The Democratic Scott Township Councilman said he would also add roughly $38,000 to Sheriff William Mullen's budget, in order to bump up his salary to the same level as that of the Controller and the County Treasurer.

The Finnerty budget would also give an extra $25,000 to the Department of Human Services for human resources spending, and finally grant an extra $5,000 to the Allegheny County League of Municipalities upon request.

The funding comes from the anticipated recovery of money from unfilled positions, also known as the fringe benefits recovery fund.

Councilman William Robinson also offered three alternative budget proposals, each of which outlines a spending plan under a different millage rate -- 4.69, 4.70, and 4.71. Robinson did not divulge details about his proposals, other than to say that he looked forward to a "spirited" budget discussion at Council's Budget and Finance Committee Meeting Wednesday at 4:00.

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