Allegheny County cannot count on getting any voluntary contributions in lieu of property taxes from the region's nonprofits this year, members of county council were advised Tuesday.
"Talks are going on, but we are not sure they will come to fruition," county manager William McKain told members of council's Budget and Finance Committee.
Mr. McKain made the comment in response to a presentation to the committee by county Controller Chelsa Wagner. She called the lack of nonprofit contributions one of the "areas of concern" in the financial status report she presented to council.
The county's 2012 operating budget, however, would remain in balance even without the $4 million originally anticipated from the nonprofits, Mr. McKain said.
Ms. Wagner's presentation served as a curtain-raiser for today's review of a proposed county spending plan for 2013. Council will hold the first of two public hearings on next year's budget starting at 4 p.m. in the Gold Room of the County Courthouse, Downtown. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has proposed a $799 million operating budget that increases spending by about 2 percent but calls for no overall change in property tax rates. County council, however, has the final word on finances.
County tax revenues have been strong this year, Ms. Wagner said. A 1-mill increase in the property tax rate for 2012 has raised an additional $56 million, she said. Money from the county's 1 percent sales tax, drink tax, hotel tax and car-rental taxes all are higher this year than last, she said.
Ms. Wagner reported that the county's pension fund saw a healthy increase in its assets, rising almost 6 percent to $734 million, as of Aug. 31, from $693 million 12 months earlier. That increase was the result of an almost five-fold jump in investment returns.