Government
4:06 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

Onorato Proud of County Executive Legacy

Outgoing County Executive Dan Onorato may have failed in his 2010 bid for the governorship, but he said his time in Allegheny County's highest office was a success.

His eight-year record of keeping county property taxes level was besmirched a bit when Allegheny County Council passed a 21% property tax hike this December, a fact about which Onorato seems displeased.

"I put forward my proposal. It had $37 million in cuts, my budget," said Onorato. "I support that budget. I think that's the budget we should have passed; I would have signed [it]. The new County Executive wants this… Obviously, there's a lot of support for it. They have to live with that budget; it's not mine."

He touted his reformation of county row offices, his reduction of county employees, and his work to keep the airport afloat in tough economic times. He said he's glad that he was able to avoid the court-ordered property reassessment for eight years, and said he's hopeful that the county's latest appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will yield some results.

Onorato said he's also proud that he helped to define the political power and expectations of the County Executive office, which he called the third highest executive position in Pennsylvania, behind the Governor and the Mayor of Philadelphia. He took over as the second holder of the office eight years ago.

After his second term ends in January, Onorato will take up an executive position with local health insurance company Highmark.