Pittsburgh is experiencing nothing less than a "period of rebirth and resurgence," made possible in part by years of sacrifice as the city clawed its way from financial disaster, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl told city council this morning in his annual budget address.
Mr. Ravenstahl recalled the sense of hopelessness that he and other city leaders felt in 2004, after the city cut a quarter of its work force and entered state financial oversight. Today, he said, the city's financial situation is much improved -- $250 million in debt has been paid down, the credit rating is up, and the city is poised to win partial release from state oversight.
"Today, we've brought the promise back to Pittsburgh, and the world has taken note," Mr. Ravenstahl said, citing development Downtown and in various city neighborhoods.
He said the $65 million capital budget for 2013, unveiled today, continues the city's momentum with $10 million for street paving, $3 million to demolish dilapidated buildings and $16 million for neighborhood improvement because "our kids and our seniors deserve neighborhoods with the best amenities."
State overseers already have approved the city's 2013 operating budget of $470 million.
Now, city council will begin debating the operating and capital budgets. Amendments are likely before council passes the spending plans by year's end.
The annual budget address in council chambers -- attended by the mayor's department heads, authority chiefs and other officials -- is more ceremonial than informative. Mr. Ravenstahl used the forum to touch on some of his favorite themes, such as the city's financial progress and the various development projects that have unfolded amid a national economic recession.
Joe Smydo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1548.