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Peduto Proposing Tax, Rate, Fee Increases

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- If you live or do business in the City of Pittsburgh, start preparing to dig a little deeper because you'll be paying more to do either next year.

Mayor Bill Peduto is proposing a package of tax, rate and fee increases to help him make budget. And while he says he'd rather not, escalating costs, he says, are leave him no choice.

"It's something I have to do," said Mayor Peduto.

Property taxes are going up -- $42 a year on a house valued at $100,000.

So is the cost of metered parking - a dollar an hour downtown and 50 cents an hour in busy retail districts like Squirrel Hill and Shadyside.

But that's not all.

There's proposed increases to permit and fees, including the cost of renting a shelter in the city's parks.

In addition, the administration is creating a landlord registration fee, which critics say will be passed on to renters.

In total, the administration hopes to raise $13.6 million in new revenues.

"It's a way to spread the pain out enough, that not any one group has to take a sharp hit," Mayor Peduto says.

The mayor says he's held the line of costs by instituting pay freezes, increasing co-pays and eliminating positions, but he says more revenue is needed to cover fully staffe essential services, like police.

"When we say we're going to have 900 officers, we're going to have a budget now that has 900 officers," Mayor Peduto said. "We're increasing our building inspectors and the number of peopel out there to increase the quality of life, firefighters as well."

But critics see it differently.

"It's a budget I think that's out of control," says Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris.

Harris who has emerged on council as Peduto's chief critic questions the spending and plans to vote against it. She says the increases are far too big a hit.

"I have people in my district who have to watch their pennies when they're food shopping and they really don't need spending the way this budget looks right now," she added.

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