Few Surprises In Preliminary 2020 City Budget

Oct 1, 2019

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto released preliminary operating and capital budgets for 2020 on Tuesday. The operating budget envisions spending an estimated $605 million next year. That's about 5 percent higher than the year before, with larger percentage hikes in the public safety spending, with the budget rising from $105 million to $115 million for police, and a hike from $76 million to $87 million for fire. 

Tim McNulty from Mayor Bill Peduto's office said the increases are largely due to a "calendar quirk." 

City employees are paid every other Friday, and in 2020 "there's an extra Friday, so we're paying everybody more," he said. "[S]ince there's more police and firefighters than any other employee group, it makes it seem like we're paying them a bunch of extra money." 

The budget also includes a previously scheduled hike in the deed transfer tax, which is applied when property changes hands. The tax will increase from 4.5 percent to 5 percent in January, a final installment on a 2017 plan to provide more money for affordable housing initiatives.  Peduto will produce a final budget proposal in November, after which City Council will hold hearings and vote on the measure. A budget must be passed by year's end.