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ICA Approves City Budget Proposal Changes, Doles Out Gaming Funds to Pensions

The state board that oversees the city of Pittsburgh’s finances has given its approval to changes made to the proposed city budget by Mayor Bill Peduto.

The Peduto administration had until the end of March to present final changes to the budget but has done so early.

“These amendments meet the financial requirement and fit within the requirements of the amended recovery plan,” said Intergovermental Cooperation Authority Board Chair Nick Varischetti. “The City of Pittsburgh budget as presented by the Peduto administration is in the amount of $487,123,000 for total expenditures.”

The budget amendments were approved earlier in the day by City Council. They, among other things, outline changes to some city departments and provide funding for his proposed early retirement program for longtime city employees.

In addition, the ICA Board doled out more than $5.6 million in gaming funds to the pension and financial management systems.

“It was the recommendation of the ICA that $4.5 million of gaming funds go to the pension system, $500,000 to OPEB (Other Pension Employee Benefit), $300,000 each to the trust fund for the financial management system and to the workers’ trust fund,” Varischetti said.

He said the ICA believes legacy costs such as the pension system are the number one concern for the city’s finances. Varischetti added that the board agrees with Peduto, that Act 47 Oversight should continue.

“Not only is it needed based on what might happen in the future, but we know there’s issues right now,” he said. “We know there’s legacy cost issues and we completely believe that the oversight should stay.”

He said no decision on whether to keep the city under state oversight has been made in Harrisburg. Former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl had asked that the city be released. Peduto has formally requested the city continue under oversight.