Allegheny County Aims For Budget Stability In New Fiscal Year

 


On today's program: The City of Pittsburgh has a budget shortfall of about $100 million due to the pandemic-induced recession, but Allegheny County’s finances are more stable; during the pandemic, the League of Women Voters adapts their voter outreach strategies; and hotel workers face difficult decisions as the industry remains in limbo. 

Despite pandemic, county finances remain stable, says Allegheny County Executive
(00:00 — 7:03)

Allegheny County is in a relatively stable financial position and wants to maintain that into the next fiscal year, despite a decrease in tax income from the leisure and hospitality industries. This is a stark contrast from the City of Pittsburgh, which projects a budget shortfall of about $100 million due to the pandemic-induced recession. 

“There will be, you know, a shortfall in some of these areas, but hopefully on the expenditure side we’re able to offset that a little bit,” says Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

The county has implemented a hiring freeze and hopes to avoid layoffs. As they prepare the budget for the next fiscal year, Fitzgerald says the county will prioritize maintaining financial stability.

“We want to continue that stability that we’ve been able to bring to the county budgetary operations and operations in general over these last number of years,” he says. 

Voter outreach takes new forms during the pandemic
(7:04 — 13:01)

Political parties and nonpartisan voters’ rights organizations would usually put their voter outreach efforts into high gear this time of year. But, the pandemic changed campaigning for everyone. 

Organizations such as the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh were forced to adapt to new circumstances, says Judy Clack, the chapter’s voter service chair. They teamed up with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to distribute voter registration information to families in September.

“The three of our nonpartisan organizations—food bank, Junior League and League of Women Voters—have successfully finished preparing materials to go to 20,000 families in Allegheny County,” Clack says.

The deadline to register to vote in Allegheny County is October 19, 2020, and the deadline to request a mail-in ballot is before 5 p.m. on October 27, 2020.

As the hotel industry continues to struggle, workers face hardships
(13:03 — 17:48)

COVID-19 hit the hotel industry hard. Experts say it may not return to pre-pandemic strength until 2023. In Pennsylvania, the hospitality field lost the most jobs of any industry, with tens of thousands still out of work.

 

Keystone Crossroads Laura Benshoff reports that disruption is both an immediate hardship and a long term one, as some workers contemplate having to start over unexpectedly.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.