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The city of Duquesne will receive an estimated $550,000 from the federal government as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
At March’s city council meeting, George Doherty, the city’s Act 47 Coordinator, said one of the main purposes of the legislation is to help municipalities recover from funds lost due to the pandemic.
Doherty recommended the city use the funds to backfill revenue that was lost from lower tax collections in 2020, and to reimburse the city for one-time capital purchases such as police cars, public works trucks and major computer systems, and improvements to streets and water systems.
He cautioned against hiring additional personnel with the federal influx, “because then we'd have to raise taxes in three years to continue to fund those positions,” he said.
Doherty said he will work with City Manager Kelly Robertson and others to earmark potential expenditures.
In Other Business
City council voted down a request from police Chief Thomas Dunlevy to hire two police officers to replace two officers leaving their Duquesne positions for jobs elsewhere.
Dunlevy noted that hiring two new officers would not impact the city’s budget, as the funds for those officers were already allocated.
“We will likely pay in overtime the amount that we perceive we're saving by not hiring,” Dunlevy told council. “‘The overtime kills the budget. We all know that.”
He also noted that officers have vacation time coming up and he cannot cover vacation time without staff. A motion to authorize the hiring of two police officers was denied.
Council approved a motion to reappoint Rev. Tamela Walker to the Planning Committee.
Nichole Faina is a freelance journalist in Pittsburgh. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published March 30, 2021.