PITTSBURGH, PA (November 9, 2020) Mayor William Peduto today delivered his proposed 2021 Operating and Capital budgets to City Council, and delivered his annual State of the City address.
The $564 million operating budget does not include tax increases and works to avoid layoffs and furloughs of City personnel.
Due to COVID-19 the City has been forced to spend nearly all of the $120 fund balance that the Mayor and Council built up through their fiscal discipline the past seven years, and is joining cities nationwide seeking federal aid to help pay for the services and safety provided to residents through the ongoing pandemic.
“We made tough decisions to stop public events, close pools, senior centers and rec centers, but still watched as our coworkers and neighbors lost their livelihoods and too often their lives,” the Mayor said in his budget speech.
“Our tax revenues cratered, and there is still no clear path forward to replace them. We listened to the pain expressed by neighbors who have been threatened by exclusionary and inequitable systems for generations, and we proudly declared that Black Lives Matter.
Despite all of this we kept our resolve during one of the most difficult years in American history. I’m here today to tell you that with your help and that of Pittsburgh’s residents, we’re going to have to do it all over again in 2021, but it is my hope we will emerge from next year even stronger,” he said.
The Office of Management and Budget estimates the City will have a $55 million operating deficit at the end of this year. Pittsburgh is required by law to have a balanced budget, so should the City not receive aid from Washington the proposed budget would require making $25.6 million in personnel cuts starting July 1, which is approximately the jobs of 634 employees. Other spending cuts and the depletion of most of the City’s reserves would be needed to further bridge the budget gap.
The proposed budget includes shifting some funding and responsibilities from the Pittsburgh Police to the new Health, Safety and Violence Prevention Initiative, which will house the Office of Community Health and Safety and the Office of Community Services and Violence Prevention. This move will allow police to focus on their core function of keeping neighborhoods safe from crime, and it will mean full-time funding for Public Safety’s Group Violence Intervention program for the very first time.
“We are not defunding the police, but are re-funding our communities,” Mayor Peduto said.
Despite proposed cuts in spending, investments in critical City needs and services will continue.
This year the City:
And next year the City will invest a total of $125 million into capital projects including funding for:
The City will also be spending $17 million to repave 65 miles of streets in 2021.
Via the Mayor’s Office of Equity, the City has:
The draft budgets introduced today must be finally approved by the end of the year. Council is set to begin budget hearings with City departments and agencies starting November 18, begin its preliminary votes December 14 and take a final vote December 21.
All hearings are votes are being held virtually.
A copy of the Mayor's speech as prepared for delivery is here.