There's an unexpected increase in the final budget approved by the Allegheny Regional Asset District Board. The $81.1 million dollar spending plan for 2011 is 2% higher than the current year's. That means an extra $900,000 for the arts organizations, libraries, parks and other entities that receive funding via the 1% sales tax in Allegheny County.
RAD officials attribute that to revenue growth between the time they issued the preliminary budget in early fall and Tuesday's final vote .
One of the beneficiaries of the additional sales tax revenues is the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Originally, the library system was to receive a $352, 000 increase in funding but will now get a raise of $528,000.
Library spokeswoman Susan Thinnes says they announcement by RAD was a wonderful surprise "and a great holiday gift for the libraries. We are thankful the libraries remain a priority for RAD. While the amount will not fill the entire deficit for next year, it does help Carnegie Library get through and be able to balance the budget for 2011."
Thinnes says within the next few weeks they will issue their final report to the Carnegie Library Board on recommendations for a long term funding solution.