Thursday, March 31, 2011

ICA to Release Gaming Funds

The Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority says it has more than $13 million dollars it will use to help pay for a new auditing system and new roads in the city. The money is cash the ICA received from gaming taxes in the last quarter of 2009 and all of 2010. $7.5 million of it will go to help the city to partner with the county on the purchase of upgrades to a soon-to-be shared financial management system. The remaining $5.8 million will be deposited into the city’s depleted capital budget to allow for “critical” street surfacing and public safety equipment purchases. Ravenstahl administration budget director Scott Kunka says he thinks the funds were divided appropriately. “There was a need that was identified, the funds needed to be gained from somewhere,” says Kunka.

The Ravenstahl administration had been waiting to purchase the new software until the state sold the old municipal courts building on Second Avenue and transferred 9 million dollars into the city's coffers.

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb says he will be looking to the board in the coming weeks to help fund what he calls a “pre-conversion” study or audit of the city’s books. “Whether that be a survey or an audit of existing accounts and funds, recommendations moving forward with respect to how we will deal with issues that have plagued in the current system, issues with respect to closing out … funds,” says Lamb. The controller says it would be best if an outside third party were hired to do the books.

Gaming tax revenues that come in during 2011 will be reserved by the ICA board to pay city debt and pension obligations.

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