Allegheny County residents would not see a property tax increase in the nearly $1 billion budget for 2020 proposed by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald at a meeting of Allegheny County Council on Tuesday.
The $959.8 million operating budget is a $27.4 million, or 2.9%, increase over the 2019 operating budget of $932.4 million.
The proposed capital budget — which includes 61 infrastructure and capital improvement projects, resources for the City-County Building roof, funding for roads and bridges as well as funding for landslide and lateral support repairs — totals $100.1 million.
The county last increased property taxes in 2012.
“We’ve been bringing a lot of stability to people and predictability that, if they invest in property in Allegheny County, whether it’s residential property or commercial property, that we’re going to hold the line on property tax,” Fitzgerald told county council members.
With a county millage rate of 4.73 mills, the owner of a $100,000 home pays $473 per year in county property taxes.
Among the items highlighted by Fitzgerald was the expansion and re-naming of the Minority Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Department, which will be restructured as the Equity and Inclusion Department.
“We’ll be providing more resources to be able to do more outreach into the community,” Fitzgerald said, adding that the expansion will include connecting with businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, people with disabilities and people who are members of the LGBTQ community.
“And to be a little more proactive out in the communities to try to help connect businesses to the opportunities that are out there,” he said.
Councilman DeWitt Walton, D-Hill District, praised the restructuring of the department.
“It is critical that we use all the tools that are at our disposal to advance the issue of equity in every phase of the business that we do here at the county,” Walton said during the meeting. “We’ve talked about purchasing, we’ve talked about development and as well as creating a greater entrepreneurial opportunity, and you’ve been responsive. I’m really excited to see where we move with the restructured department.”
The proposed budget also creates a new Information Technology Department to handle computer, technology and website application needs previously overseen by the Department of Computer Services, which fell under the Administrative Services department.
“We know how information technology has changed, and will continue to change over the next few years,” Fitzgerald told council members. “We think it’s really important that this be its own department where the director will be answering directly to the county manager.”
The proposed budget now goes to Allegheny County Council for review and public hearings.
Council must vote to adopt a budget by Dec. 6 this year.