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Politics & Government

City Councilwoman Critical of Mayor's Capital Budget Plan

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak says the $64 million capital budget proposed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is amorphous and needs serious refinement.

Rudiak said many of the budget line items are devoid of important details.

"We look at bike infrastructure, we look at bridge repairs, we look at building improvements, we look at pool rehabilitation -- there's no detail in any of these categories about which pools, or which buildings, or which playgrounds are going to be focused on next year or in the next five years," said Rudiak.

The capital budget funds long-term infrastructure projects, such as the construction and maintenance of buildings, roads, and parks.

The South Pittsburgh Councilwoman referenced legislation passed by Council in 2011 that required greater transparency in the capital budget process. In the first budget under the new law, Rudiak said she hasn't seen any improvement from the public meetings and the five-year plan the legislation required.

She said the lack of detail brings up questions as to why each line item received the specific amount of funding allocated.

"You look at neighborhood street improvements, this year we're budgeting $500,000. Then, it jumps from $100,000, to $75,000, to $200,000 every year [afterward]," said Rudiak. "I don't know why that is, but you could literally flip through every single project and description and ask those questions."

Rudiak said the only specific projects to get full-page, detailed layouts were those that Council specifically allocated funding for earlier this year. She said she's looking forward to questioning the administration about the lack of detail in the budget hearings over the coming weeks.