The city of Pittsburgh ended last year with a $36 million surplus. But Controller Michael Lamb says the city's ongoing problems with debt and an underfunded pension put its finances at risk. Lamb released the city's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report today. He found that the city brought in higher than expected revenues from taxes; collections of real estate, payroll preparation, income, parking and amusement taxes were all up. Lamb says the higher payroll tax numbers in particular suggest to him that job losses in Pittsburgh have not been that severe.
The bad news, he says, is that pensions for city employees are only 29% funded. That's down from 42% at the end of 2007. Lamb says employees will have to help--he predicts the collective bargaining process will bring about changes like higher contributions or adjustments to the retirement age. Lamb also says the mayor's proposal to lease downtown parking garages may also help... but ultimately, he says the city needs help from Harrisburg.