No Big Surprises in City Budget

No Big Surprises in City Budget

An annual growth rate of about 3% per year in expenditures; no increases to existing taxes and no real proposals for new types; still wrestling with legacy costs such as debt, pensions, post-employment healthcare, etc.

That basically sums up what came from the release of the City of Pittsburgh’s 2013 budget and five year financial forecast submitted to the oversight board last week. The City expects to finish 2012 with expenditures of $459 million, growing to $469 million next year. Operating departments and debt service will be higher, but pension/health benefits/workers’ comp will be down slightly. In 2013 and the years to come operating expenses represent about 50% of total expenditures, the other half going to the aforementioned non-operating costs of pensions/health/workers’ comp and debt service.

The biggest adjustment for the City, like the County and the other municipalities, will be adjusting the property tax rate when new values are certified. The City’s rate held steady at 10.8 mills when it was adjusted following the 2001 reassessment (the City used to tax buildings at one rate and land at another) and was really the only tax untouched by the reforms of the Act 47 and oversight years in which new taxes were created, others eliminated, and some rates defined in state law.