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Politics & Government

Pittsburgh Department of Innovation and Performance Looks to the Future

Not even a year old yet, Pittsburgh’s Department of Innovation and Performance addressed 2015 budget requests at one in a series of City Council budget hearings Tuesday.

The department’s budget has a proposed increase of about $255,000, a 1.84 percent change. Salaries in the budget decrease by about 2 percent. Department Chief Debra Lam said in less than one year, Innovation and Performance has already done a lot – including updating the 311 system.

“We had city cable and web upgrades,” said Lam. “We have completely migrated our Pittsburghpa.gov into a second generation and we did some extensive, internal upgrades around our data center.”

The goal of the department, which was created in February, is to "transform Pittsburgh into a world-class city through the intersections of technology, sustainability, and performance." To that end, Lam said 2015 goals are lined up and include continued improvements to 311 and more.

“We’ll also be looking into some better communications around e-mail, telecommunications and then some external engagement around public wifi, our climate change action plan, as well as our open data initiatives and innovation roadmap,” said Lam.

She said the department was able to shave some money from last year’s budget thanks to grant funding and by not filling vacant positions and making efficiency improvements. City Council members Darlene Harris, Bruce Kraus, Natalia Rudiak and Deb Gross commended the work of the department.

Pittsburgh City Council this week has also heard from departments such a Parking, Law, Finance and City Planning. They will wrap up budget hearings early next week and members are set to vote on the final budget in mid-December.

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