Pittsburgh to consider tax increase, $100M in borrowing



Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday introduced a five-year financial plan that includes a tax increase and $100 million in borrowing as part of a host of solutions designed to solve the city's long-term financial woes.

Act 47 coordinators, who wrote Pittsburgh's new Act 47 recovery plan, say the city must find new sources of funding for employee legacy costs and critical infrastructure.

Mayor Bill Peduto and City Council members oppose the real estate increase and say they can find alternatives that would offset the loss of about $7 million in tax revenue from last year's millage rate decrease to 7.56 mills from 10.8 mills.

Pittsburgh has been under financial oversight, known as Act 47, since 2004, when the state declared it a distressed city. Officials believe the city will qualify for release from oversight in 2019 when the financial plan expires.

"It's an option in the plan. I think all of City Council and the mayor's office has been clear that is not our preference to ever increase taxes and there are many other sources out there. But we need to be realistic and fiscally responsible,” City Councilman Dan Gilman said. "City Council and the mayor's office can still amend the plan. We are going to have three to four weeks where we will have public hearings and public input and amendments before we come up with any finalized five-year plan for the city."

Terri Consentino, of the North Side, feels like many others in Pittsburgh who don’t want to see property taxes go up.

“I think they are high enough. I don’t think they need to raise them at all,” she said.

Some homeowners, however, are split over whether they support a tax increase.

“I would if there were concrete plans to use that money to justify doing that,” Jack Hatley said.

Council is scheduled for an initial vote on the legislation on Wednesday.

Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.