City spending proposal tops $600 million

City spending proposal tops $600 million

The City of Pittsburgh’s 2020 operating and capital budget proposals were made public today.  If approved by City Council (which will deliberate on them over the next three months) the operating budget expenditures will be $605.5 million.  If the official 2020 Census has a city population of 300,000 the resulting per capita spending will be $2,018. 

The operating budget expects to have revenues of $607.6 million, resulting in a positive operating result for 2020 of $2.1 million.  With a Jan. 1, 2020, fund balance of $81.3 million and one transfer of $14.5 million to the capital budget, the city expects to close 2020 with a $69 million balance. 

The bulk of the city’s revenues ($495.4 million, or 81 percent) come from taxes; property taxes are to raise $150 million based on 8.06 mills.  That tax might go up if city voters approve a home rule charter amendment for a 0.5 mill hike for park funding.  The city’s deed transfer tax is set to increase at the start of the year to 3 percent and raise $43.7 million in 2020, which is $8 million more than what the city projects will be collected from the tax this year. 

The city’s operating expenditures as proposed include $358.9 million for operating departments, $105.3 million for pension/other post-employment benefits, $67.6 million for health benefits, $17.4 million for workers’ compensation and $56 million for debt service.  From this year only the latter two categories are expected to decrease, but overall there could be a 5 percent increase in spending.  Too bad the charter does not have language on spending controls

For the proposed capital budget the city would spend $109.1 million next year.  These expenditures are funded by bonds ($50 million), the transfer from the operating budget ($14.5 million), federal community development block grants ($13.3 million) and other federal, state and foundation money ($31.1 million).  Much of this money as proposed ($37 million) is for projects related to street repair and resurfacing