On today's program: Mayor Bill Peduto presented Pittsburgh’s proposed 2021 budget earlier this week. It includes an almost 10 percent cut in police funding; and the latest phase of a sky mapping project could help answer long-held questions about our universe.
Pittsburgh 2021 budget defers potential furloughs to July, Peduto says it’s up to Congress to offer relief
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Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Monday presented a 2021 budget totaling $564 million—seven percent less than this year’s budget. The 2021 budget delays potential furloughs of city employees until July 1. Peduto says it’s up to Congress to step in and offer federal aid to cities across the country.
The new budget does not call for tax increases.
Earlier in the pandemic, Peduto indicated that the city could face a deficit of up to $100 million in the 2020 budget, which he says they have staved off for now with reserve funds from the city budget. While the reserve fund is not yet depleted, Peduto says that because the surplus cannot be spent without affecting the city’s bond rating, the reserve fund money won’t be an option to fill the estimated $55 million deficit in the 2021 budget.
The proposed budget calls for a 9.8 percent cut in funding for the Pittsburgh Police Bureau. But Peduto says the police are not being “defunded.” The force will be reduced through attrition.
“As officers retire or move to different jobs, the numbers of police officers will be coming down. We still want to be able to maintain, to be able to have adequate numbers in all of our neighborhoods,” he says.
The Milky Way is still undergoing changes, says Penn State Professor
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The Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which started in 2000, creates detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe, mapping the inner workings of nearby galaxies and exploring the makeup of our galaxy, the Milky Way. The most recent phase of the survey, SDSS-V, began collecting results in October.
This phase of the project has three key programs called “mappers”—Milky Way Mapper, Black Hole Mapper, and Local Volume Mapper—designed to answer some of the most important questions about the universe. The data SDSS-V collects could offer hints as to how galaxies are formed, says Donald Schneider, a member of the executive committee of the SDSS-V Advisory Council and head of the astronomy department at Penn State University.
“Our galaxy is undergoing lots of changes even today,” he says. “If you look on timescales of hundreds of millions of years, we think of our galaxy as static, but it is actually a very dynamic system.”
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