Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday approved a new five-year financial recovery plan that includes recommendations for a possible property tax increase and bond issues to improve deteriorating infrastructure.
The plan, which was required because the city operates as a financially distressed city under Act 47, was approved on a 7-2 vote.
Council members Darlene Harris and Theresa Kail-Smith voted against it.
Mayor Bill Peduto thanked city council, his finance team, the governor, the Act 47 coordinators and others involved in crafting the plan and said the city still has a lot of work ahead to solve long-term capital, debt and pension needs and relieve the tax burden on residents.
“Together we can implement a final recovery strategy to address our present budget needs and solve these issues for future generations of Pittsburghers,” he said in a statement.
The plan projects that the city could face a budget deficit of $21 million by 2018, blaming the shortfall on tax cuts in 2013 after a countywide reassessment. One way to eliminate that deficit is to restore part of the property tax millage, the plan says.
Approval does not automatically mean a tax increase; the plan includes numerous other recommendations to save money and close the budget gap.
Among amendments to the plan that were added last week before a preliminary vote are examining whether the city should return to operating its own asphalt plant, whether delinquent taxes should be collected in-house or by an outside contractor and consolidating the city’s safety training and administration offices into one complex.
The plan also recommends bond issues of $25 million in 2015 and 2017 to help fix roads, bridges and buildings.
The five-year plan is the third since the state designated Pittsburgh a financially stressed municipality in 2003.
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