It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, not the holiday season -- the city budget season, in which Pittsburgh City Council will tweak the mayor's budget proposal to hammer out a final spending plan for 2013.
The process begins today with a public hearing on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's $469.5 million operating budget proposal, and his $65 million capital budget plan.
In the weeks that follow, City Council will hear testimony on both budgets from a number of other interested parties, according to Council Finance Chair Ricky Burgess.
"You'll see a series of meetings with department heads and directors, and authority executive directors," said Burgess.
"We will begin to go through the department requests to see how previous dollars have been spent, how future dollars are going to be spent, their goals, their objectives for future projects."
Burgess said the mayor's budget proposal will probably sustain only minor changes, because the plan has already received the necessary approval from the state-appointed Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.
"Because of [state] oversight, there's really a limit to how much we can alter it without oversight's permission," said Burgess. "But I do think you're going to see Council, as it does every year, it will make some changes, it will target some spending, and it will make some recommendations."
Council's finance chief said the capital budget process will be more in-depth this year, because of legislation passed earlier this year.
"This will be our first year reviewing that process, which called for community meetings, which I was at," said Burgess. "We had community meetings and input into the capital budget, which you'll see for the first time as a five-year accounting of all projects."