Monday, November 15, 2010
The Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) held a public meeting to address the city's revised proposed 2011 budget and five year plan today. The ICA was created in 2004 by the state to help financially stabilize the city. The Authority rejected the mayor's second draft of a proposed budget. ICA Chair Barbara McNees says their concerns are that it "does not meet the requirements that we've required every year since we've been here for balanced, verifiable revenue." Specifically, the budget lacked the $60 million needed to help fund the city's pension. The mayor has until the end of the month to resubmit a budget and then the ICA has another 15 days to review it. McNees says the ICA has concerns about the potential takeover of the city's pension fund by the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System, which would require payments of more than $100 million a year to pay for the plan. McNees says "fiscal chaos is what could happen if you have to come up with $120 million in the out-years." In September the mayor put forth a $447.4 million budget that included revenue from leasing the city's parking garages and meters to a private operator. But the ICA rejected the proposal when it became clear city council would not approve the lease. In turn, the mayor rejected council's proposal to sell the parking assets to the Parking Authority to help build up the pension fund. The pension is only 27.5% funded. The ICA must approve a budget before council can vote on it.