ShareThis Page

City of Pittsburgh's financial data now available on website

Bob Bauder
| Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, 11:33 a.m.

Pittsburgh city government started an interactive web portal Wednesday that shows in detail where the city is spending taxpayer dollars.

The public can readily see financial information online through Fiscal Focus Pittsburgh , designed to make data available and easy to find. But city officials acknowledge they are working out bugs.

The site reflects a $9 million budget deficit for 2014 but doesn't indicate the city covered the shortfall by dipping into surplus funds. The estimated spending and revenue reflects a $1.3 million surplus, according to the site.

“Over the next year or so, this information will become more detailed than it is now,” said Controller Michael Lamb, who worked with the Mayor's Office, and Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, who chairs the finance committee, on the website as part of an effort to improve government transparency.

Users can view and compare revenue and expenses in each of the past three years with colorful bar charts and number charts. They can post data sets to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook that show, for instance, the city spent about 70 percent of its $490 million budget on employee salaries and benefits with $194 million going to salaries and $154 million to benefits.

“Knowledge is power,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. “Giving people the opportunity to have these tools can get them not only more engaged in city government, but also give them the ability to see how their tax dollars are being spent.”

The data is current as of Dec. 31 but will be updated monthly.

City Council contracted with, a Redwood City, Calif.-based firm for $20,000 to put the data into an easily readable form.

The city previously offered budget information online, but in cumbersome formats.

“This isn't just taking the budget book and giving you a nice picture of it,” Lamb said. “This is an actual look at comparative spending, year-to-year, month-to-month.”

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me