Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The accounts at the center of a $250,000 Pittsburgh City Council controversy have been closed out and the remaining money transferred to another fund.

City Controller Michael Lamb and Henry Sciortino, executive director of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, made the announcement Tuesday. The ICA is one of the city’s two financial oversight boards.

Council caused a stir in June when it proposed taking $250,000 from old capital accounts to pay for a study of the city’s parking assets and pension needs — a necessary precursor, most members said, to the coming vote on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s plan to lease parking garages and meters for 50 years.

In all, the accounts held as much as $1 million left over from old projects, many of them smaller projects designated by council members and the mayor’s office, Mr. Lamb said.

The ICA demanded a vote on the expenditure and questioned why the financially strapped city had about $1 million sitting idle in the accounts.

In the end, ICA approved the use of $250,000 for the parking study, which is underway.
Mr. Lamb said Tuesday that the remaining money has been transferred to the city’s main “project fund.” He said about $600,000 has been allocated to specific projects.