Financial recovery authority receives budget boost from Pennsylvania
An agency designated to help city government navigate its financial recovery is on track to more than double the money it gets from the state.
The state budget for 2014-15, which the House and Senate were expected to approve late Monday, includes $550,000 for the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, up from $228,000 this year. The increase follows some heated discussion in early June between the authority's chairman and Mayor Bill Peduto about the city's latest five-year financial recovery plan.
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, said the expenditure was appropriate.
“It's a recognition by all four caucuses” of the need to enhance the work of ICA, he said.
Henry Sciortino, ICA executive director, said the money means the authority can offer consulting help in areas including financial management or the civil service system. The ICA's board will decide what to scrutinize.
Money cannot go toward the city's general fund.
“The city needs help, and it's critical that we take targeted opportunities to zero in on things that need to be done,” he said.
The board requested that amount from the state in its budget proposal in October. It has received funding in the $400,000 range before.
City Council this month accepted a five-year recovery plan from the city's Act 47 overseers, who are appointed by the state and are separate from ICA. That plan outlined $100 million in capital improvements, new investments to pension funds and a potential property tax increase.
ICA Chairman Nicholas Varischetti wrote to the mayor saying the city's operating costs are about 20 percent higher than necessary. That should be addressed, he said, before the city seeks new revenue sources.
“You are now in a position to act on the reality of hard choices,” he wrote.
Peduto replied he would require analysis of departments and programs before “indiscriminately slashing our operating budget by 20 percent.” He said the ICA needs to have a “stronger voice on these issues” to lobby for legislative reforms to improve the city's financial position.
Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty said the administration “has been working alongside both of the city's overseers, and looks forward to continuing that as we implement the city's final recovery plan.”
Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-380-8511.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- FBI questions Allentown mayor, seizes contract documents
- Donora-Webster bridge plunges into Mon River after 107 years
- New trial sought in 1977 Washington County murder case
- Presque Isle Downs cancels thoroughbred races because of running deer
- 2 from Western Pennsylvania charged with insurance fraud
- State cites Greene County mine after fatality, checking ventilation doors
- Pa. could ease restrictions on fireworks, reaping big bang in taxes
- ‘We are’ chant now a permanent fixture on Penn State campus
- Jailed Philadelphia priest could get papal visit