How Peduto’s budget plans become Pittsburgh’s budget

Mayor Bill Peduto submitted the 2017 operating and 2017 capital budgets on Friday. But what does that mean?

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Pictures of Money / Flickr
MJ Slaby

On Friday, Mayor Bill Peduto’s office revealed how it wants to spend Pittsburgh’s money in 2017 with a $539.4 million operating budget and $75.9 million capital budget.

There are increased funds to public safety —including for more police staffing — as well as money for street resurfacing and for sensors to activate lights at city hockey, basketball and tennis courts and to alert workers when public trash cans are full.

The plans also create a new position and new department for the city — chief financial officer will go to Sam Ashbaugh, city budget director, the Tribune-Review reported, and a new Department of Mobility and Infrastructure will improve transportation projects, per WPXI.

Plus, there are no city tax increases for the second year in a row, the Post-Gazette noted.

As it stands, Bill Urbanic, budget director in the city council’s budget office, said he doesn’t expect the 2017 budgets — which are largely separate, but overlap slightly — to be contentious.

There’s no tax increase and no decreases in personnel or services, which are the things that usually cause disagreements, Urbanic said.

So how does this document and this document become the actual operating and capital budgets (respectively) for the city — and not just a proposal?

Urbanic said the two follow the same path, which goes like this:

  1. Peduto submitted the budgets (plus a five-year financial plan) to one of the city’s two financial overseers, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, today. Pittsburgh City Council can start looking at them, too.
  2. The ICA and council have 30 days (so roughly by late October) to respond with their edits and suggested changes. During that time, there will be a public hearing on Oct. 5.
  3. Then, Peduto makes revisions. His deadline is the first Monday after election day, Nov. 14. He gives the new-and-improved budget back to city council.
  4. This is when city council takes over. There are budget hearings in November and December, where the council goes over the budget department by department. This is also the time when members of the public — yes, you — can weigh in and speak up.
  5. Dec. 31 is the final deadline for council to approve the budget. It has to be done by then.
  6. The budgets go into effect on Jan. 1.
  7. But wait! There’s a bonus step: If city council didn’t quite agree on everything, the council has until the first week of February to make changes ¯\_(ツ)_/¯