Pittsburgh Mayor Places City Budget In Council's Hands

Nov 9, 2015

Pittsburgh City Council will take a look at Mayor Bill Peduto's proposed 2016 budget. Peduto is pictured here in a photo from 2013.
Credit Keith Srakocic / AP

Pittsburgh City Council will get to take its shot at the 2016 operating and capital budgets as proposed by Mayor Bill Peduto on Monday.

“I think there are some things that council is going to move around,” said council Finance and Law Committee Chair Natalia Rudiak. “Of course it’s a matter of where are we going to add, and… where are we going to take away.”

Rudiak will oversee a series of hearings on the spending plan. The first public input session is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17 in council chambers. From there, discussions will move into more sessions focusing on individual departments.

“So council members will have an opportunity to question all of the directors, chiefs and assistant directors at the [council] table,” Rudiak said.

Most of the details of the mayor’s $518.7 million operating budget, which he presented to council Monday morning, were made public in September when he submitted an abbreviated version to the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority and the Act 47 oversight board. 

The overall budget holds the line on taxes but does include a new bond issuance to help support a $70 million capital budget, which calls for 60 miles worth of street paving and a $6.8-million allocation for community development projects.

The budget also calls for 120 cadet slots for the city’s police academy, increasing spending on police vehicles by more than 30 percent and giving school crossing guards two-way radios. 

The city is expected to continue its trend toward technology as it streamlines lower-level tasks like deploying crossing guards, letting contracts for goods and services, routing calls that come into the city’s 311 center and tracking city snowplows.

One of the biggest exceptions is the mayor’s plan to increase the number of building inspectors. As a whole, the budget envisions 66 fewer employees in 2016 than in 2014.

Act 47 coordinators approved the budget last week. The ICA rejected the plan last month, but the Peduto administration contends the vote was not valid, because there are not enough active members on the body to gather a quorum.

A final council vote on the budget is expected Dec. 15.