PITTSBURGH - An anticipated excess of $1.6 million in the fuel fund by year's end may help offset the City of Pittsburgh's budget deficit and help keep its libraries open, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

City Council President Doug Shields said the fund is expected to finish the year with a $1.6 million surplus because the city anticipated that gas prices would be higher than they were. Shields proposed pledging $600,000 from the city's flush fuel fund now, and the same amount from its healthy savings account next year, to keep the libraries open.

The Carnegie Library's board of trustees voted last month to close the five branches and make other cost-cutting moves to cover a projected $1.2 million budget deficit.

The fuel fund pledge, which has spurred debate among city officials, could come up for a council vote as early as Nov. 11, reported the Gazette.