Mayor Presents Budget to Council, Makes Requests of Other Parties

Mayor Presents Budget to Council, Makes Requests of Other Parties

This morning the Mayor of Pittsburgh presented the 2018 operating and capital budgets to City Council for the fiscal year that begins January 1, 2018.  The budgets were presented to the City’s oversight board at the end of September.

In the address to Council this morning, the Mayor made several requests (all of the letters are available in this morning’s press release) regarding the City’s financial future-

  • for City Council to adopt amendments to four chapters of the City Code (pensions, debt, operating, and capital) “…to protect the City from entering distressed status again”.  No pension enhancements, holding to a ratio between debt level and general operating expenses, closing of capital projects that have been authorized but with less than 20% spent, etc. is what was proposed;
  • for four large non-profits for initiatives regarding affordable housing, Pre-K education, and drinking water under the rubric of a “one Pgh” program;
  • for the Governor and the leaders of the General Assembly regarding statewide municipal pension reform (recall Act 5 of 2017 addressed the pension characteristics of SERS and PSERS; the request for addressing municipal pensions is for the “…upcoming legislative session”, but also notes that an amendment regarding the second class city code will be presented in the next two weeks, and then asks for “…action on municipal pension reform by the end of this year”).  There are 19 recommendations in all–longer vesting periods, changes to retirement age and service time, removing pensions from collective bargaining, counting overtime into pensions, etc.
  • for the Governor and Secretary of DCED for the City’s release from Act 47 and ICA oversight. This final request is “…conditional – requiring both Pittsburgh City Council’s approval of financial reform amendments as aforementioned and the state legislature need to reform to municipal pensions.”  The legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2016 states that the oversight board can be dissolved by DCED when the Act 47 team is dissolved, or June 30th, 2019, whichever is later.  Likewise, in 2014 the state approved legislation amending Act 47 to set a timeline for municipalities in distressed status, with possible extensions and other remedies.