Pittsburgh’s finances at the mid-year point

Pittsburgh’s finances at the mid-year point

As of June 30 the City of Pittsburgh had collected $357.4 million, or 61 percent, of its budgeted general fund revenues and spent $316.0 million, or 54 percent, of its budgeted general fund expenditures.

We recently pointed out how the city’s 2018’s revenues and spending compared to our Benchmark City. How do the June 30, 2019, city totals compare to the same point in 2018?

On the revenue side, year-to-date collections (mainly taxes, but also licenses and permits, charges, intergovernmental revenue, etc.) are running $13 million higher ($344.4 million). Of the city’s tax levies the deed transfer tax raised $4.8 million more ($17.3 million to $12.5 million) and the collections of the wage tax are $3.1 million greater ($55.2 million to $52.1 million).

The city’s major tax source, the property tax, stood at $128.9 million (91 percent of that levy had been collected by the end of June), which was $1.2 million more than the June 30, 2018 total of $127.7 million.

This coming Jan. 1 the deed transfer tax is scheduled to increase by half a percentage point to 3 percent. It is not yet known if a proposed property tax rate increase will appear on the ballot. That measure seeks a half a mill increase to fund city parks.

The city’s expenditures stood at $316.0 million. At the midpoint of 2018 the city spent $295.7 million. Big jumps in year-over-year spending were concentrated in public safety (emergency medical services by $1.8 million, police by $2.5 million and fire by $1.5 million) and public works (facilities up $4.2 million). The city also made a $15 million payment to pay-as-you-go capital needs in February 2019.

The city’s 2020 budget preparation cycle is moving forward with baseline budget analysis in August and presentation of the operating and capital budgets to council by Sept. 30. That’s per the ordinance that describes the budget process following the termination of the oversight board.