Council Freshman Tout Ways To Save $50 Million A Year

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The freshman council members [file photo]

City Council's three freshmen this morning tried to set the table for tomorrow's Committee on Fiscal Stability and Intergovernmental Cooperation hearing, where the city's fiscal budget will be examined.  Bill Green, Curtis Jones Jr. and Maria Quinones Sanchez touted what they called the "Freshman 15" -- 15 ways to trim the city's budget to come up with about $50 million in annual savings.

Green said the proposals were a way to "change the culture of the city government in Philadelphia."  Jones and Sanchez emphasized that they wanted to work "collaboratively" with Mayor Nutter and their Council colleagues on the plan.  Nutter said the nation's economic problems could cause a gap in the city's five-year plan that could reach $650 million to $850 million.  "We all know it's going to get worse," Sanchez said.

Some of the ideas the three will present tomorrow:  The city could pull in $10 million a year if it goes after just 1 percent of the outstanding bail money that should be forfeited by people who don't show up for court; The city could save $10 million a year by creating one office of Information Technology instead of having each department handle its own technological needs; and the city could save $9.4 million a year by cutting its employee overtime costs by 5 percent.  Here's a full list of the proposals.

"We don't want to be at cross-purposes," Jones said of the trio's hopes that their ideas will be well-received by the rest of the city's government. "We don't want to be Washington D.C., pointing fingers at each other, blaming each other. Because the public, at the end of the day, will judge us harshly."

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