Math iz hard


That’s 25 million dollars.

That’s a lot of money.

The city might have $25,000,000 to buy new police cars and demolish some houses (hopefully the correct houses) and pave some roads.

Or it might not.

Enter City finance director Scott Kunka. He says the city has approved the purchase of 55 vehicles, but won’t order them until the money is found to pay for them because the 2011 budget provides no money for the capital fund, which is where the money for such projects resides.

Now enter budget director Bill Urbanic who says the capital fund should have $25 million just sitting there and not earmarked toward anything.

Thrust. Parry.

Mr. Kunka then says that supposed $25 million … wait for it … wait for it … DOESN’T EXIST!


Enter Bill Peduto. He says he has seen documents that hint that the money DOES exist.

Bigfoot. Lochness Monster. Chupacabra. $25 million.

Please pardon me while I take a moment to inquisitively scratch my chin and ponder how there can be a debate between the finance director and the budget director about the existence or lack thereof of twenty-five million dollars in city coffers.

[scritch scritch]

[puts smart-looking eyeglasses on and begins rifling through stacks of important-looking papers like George Costanza]

[smacks a few numbers into an adding machine that’s not even plugged in]

[lights fire to the papers]

[looks for something with a face to punch]

Seriously. If I shake my head any harder, I’ll internally decapitate myself.

Now, more than ever, I’m convinced all the money the city of Pittsburgh has is managed and counted in a windowless room in the City County building basement where a 95-year-old blind man sits moving the worn beads of his trusty abacus while muttering, “two, carry the five, minus five google, plus a trillion, times a ding-dong, equals TWENTY FIVE MILLION!”

God help us.


  1. Dan
    March 7, 2011 11:13 am

    Dear Pittsburgh,

    I’m an econ major and looking for work. I will find the 25 million or the lack of 25 million.

    Call me!

  2. Infinonymous
    March 7, 2011 11:19 am

    You write as if you have never met Luke Ravenstahl.

    Photographic evidence, however, exists.

  3. Dan (Not Onorato)
    March 7, 2011 11:19 am

    OK Let me be the first to say/ask this…

    does the $16 mil from the G20 Meetings have anything to do with the $25 mil missing? Could someone have possibly just written it in the books as “we have it” and we just havent received the check?

  4. Dan (Not Onorato)
    March 7, 2011 11:20 am

    I dont know where its at but all of a sudden the Mayor is sporting a statue of a greyhound (ala Joey from Friends)

    OK Im done…

  5. Jill M
    March 7, 2011 11:24 am

    Really? Because I know I can log in to my online banking and know how much money I have (plus or minus any uncleared checks)…

    I think they just need a good qualifed wife who does the budget and pays the bills to run the money.


  6. bucdaddy
    March 7, 2011 11:33 am

    I can admit it: Your corrupt, inept politicians have it all over our corrupt, inept politicians. We haven’t made that much money disappear in 20 years (see: A. James Manchin’s tenure as state treasurer).

    You’re No. 1, baby!

  7. cityworker
    March 7, 2011 11:41 am

    i have been to the basement of the City-County building and there are a lot scarier things down there than a 95-year old blind man.

  8. Amanda
    March 7, 2011 12:42 pm

    I am missing 25 million too. What a coincidence.

  9. spoon
    March 7, 2011 12:51 pm

    I’ve found checks for a few bucks in library books before that ppl used as bookmarks. Maybe they should look there in say… Common Sense

  10. Butcher's Dog
    March 7, 2011 12:57 pm

    Aside from bit of fresh air now and then, what would a blind man want with windows? Just curious.

  11. Moxie Bestos
    March 7, 2011 1:00 pm

    @cityworker is right. The basement of the City-County Building is a hot, humid, murky, leaky area with lots of pipes on which you will find signs that say, “Danger. Asbestos.” How that 95-year-old blind man hasn’t contracted a lung ailment, I don’t know…

  12. XTheOwl
    March 7, 2011 1:03 pm

    There are still checks in the checkbook so therefore we still have money left, right?

  13. Jen
    March 7, 2011 1:28 pm

    Come on, haven’t you found a $25M bill in the laundry and said “oh, I forgot that was in my pocket.”

  14. Jen
    March 7, 2011 1:43 pm

    The article mentions a “$100,000 study of the South Side hospitality” that is currently in the city budget. I used to “study” in the South Side when I was in grad school, too, for a lot less $$$.

  15. gunnlino
    March 7, 2011 1:47 pm

    Hey people this is the ‘Burgh, Western PA remember. Crap like this has been going on since Davy Lawrence was mayor (with the lower case “m” ), what’s that now, 80 plus years ? And you’re still surprised ?

    Head desk.

  16. Duncan
    March 7, 2011 2:29 pm

    Maybe the money is in the large carmick “City of Pittsburgh couch cushions”. I wish my budget had that kind of slop in it…

  17. Julie
    March 7, 2011 3:26 pm

    Dan (Onorato) – did he get the dog at I Heart Porcelain or Isn’t it Chromantic or I Love Lucite?

  18. Julie
    March 7, 2011 3:33 pm

    Sorry…that should be to Dan (Not Onorato) Sorry Dan!! ;)

  19. Pingback: Pittsburgh missing $25 million, maybe « Internet Scofflaw

  20. ejsteelerfan
    March 7, 2011 9:12 pm

    love the “Bones” reference!

  21. bucdaddy
    March 7, 2011 11:29 pm

    Maybe it’s in the barrels of money PAT hasn’t got around to counting yet.

    Maybe it got taken out of the general fund and put aside to pay the ginormous settlement the city will owe the family of the guy who died during the snowstorm.

    Maybe …

    Aw hell, I’ll leave some for the rest of you.

  22. Pittsburgh Pierogi
    March 8, 2011 12:01 am

    (5)google X 1 ding-dong = 2fun(e) :)

  23. #1 WI Steeler Fan
    March 8, 2011 12:52 pm

    Sorry- Johnny Depp always looks skuzzy to me.