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Leveraging Data to Deliver on Community Priorities

Ed Gainey
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania faced major disconnects between its legacy budget systems and new priorities. As the City pivoted towards big climate and racial equity goals, they struggled to work with dated budgeting processes that did not account for their desired equity outcomes.

Pittsburgh, PA updated their budget system using an innovative new process called Priority Based Budgeting (PBB).

This initiative was made possible through the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, who introduced ResourceX, a Climate Challenge Partner, and Delivery Associates to help the City implement PBB.

Real World Challenges

Pittsburgh faced two obstacles to increase budget transparency and allocate resources to climate and budget priorities:

  • The City struggled to align traditional line item budgeting to programs and their desired outcomes.

For example, a line item budget may display a $1 million spending on postage annually, but it does not break down the budget into specific activities and programs. If the City had wanted to find an additional budget from the postage department to fund climate projects, they would not be able to make that decision without additional analysis. 

  • The City faced the challenge of communicating these complicated budget terminologies in non-technical terms to the public.

With its existing system, it also faced limitations in soliciting feedback from residents on their desired budget priorities. This creates less transparency within the City as the budget processes are not known or contributed by residents. 

Real-world solutions

With support from Delivery Associates and ResourceX, Pittsburgh developed criteria for climate and equity so they could score departmental budget requests. The City’s finance teams received training on PBB and codified the budgeting process.

Delivery Associates Digital also helped the City develop a public-facing dashboard to share information to residents and increase budget transparency. The goal of the dashboard is to:

  • Increase resident understanding of the City’s operating budget and priorities.
  • Allow residents to share feedback during the budget process itself to better reflect community priorities.


Pittsburgh identified $23M of funding available for reallocation to priorities from the existing budget without needing to raise taxes. The City also identified $18M worth of revenue opportunities, for a total of $41M. The additional $41M budget was then repurposed for equity, climate and economic recovery initiatives.

The City is also bringing a new way to communicate its budget updates to both residents and City leaders. Its new public-facing dashboard presents videos and simple charts about the budget and community priorities. Residents with no technical background are able to understand the City’s budget data. 

Product's key features and benefits include:

  • Complete budget transparency
  • Low code maintenance
  • Multiple data integration pipelines
  • Resident's user guide
  • Download data for offline access
  • Social media integration
  • Secure and cost-effective hosting

Pittsburgh’s Priority Based Budget initiative ensures the decisions we make in City government reflect the will of the people in our City. This new tool enables residents to understand the budget on a deeper level. By providing this information in an easily digestible way, we are creating a better Pittsburgh where every resident has access to the information they need to engage with city government in a meaningful way. I want to thank our partners – ResourceX, Delivery Associates-Digital, and Bloomberg Philanthropies – for their support on this project.

Ed Gainey, Mayor of City of Pittsburgh

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