Mayor Nutter this morning transmitted a copy of the revised five year plan – also known as Plan C or the doomsday budget – to City Council.
Plan C will be enacted if the city doesn't soon get approval from the state for a temporary sales tax increase and some changes to payments into the pension fund. Those moves are worth $700 million over five years. Much of the detail has been reported before – layoffs of nearly 3,000 city workers, along with closures of libraries and recreation centers, as well as a reduction in trash collection – but the plan shows exactly how the cuts will unfold.
Over the course of the five years, the bulk of the cuts come in the first two years when the city’s cash flow problems are the most severe. For example, the Free Library, Fairmount Park and the Recreation Department will be cut back drastically this fiscal year and next, before seeing funding return in the third year of the plan. But for the next two years, the Park will have just 22 staffers, the Free Library will have 138 and Recreation will have 28.
Because the city is almost two months into the fiscal year without approval from Harrisburg on the budget requests, Nutter must submit the contingency budget by the end of the month to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, the state agency that oversees the city budget. Implementation would soon follow.
Nutter must also send the changes to City Council, but how Council will proceed is unclear. Council could hold a vote to approve the changes, they could officially waive a vote or if they take no action, the plan will be considered approved after ten days. Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. is attending today's event with Nutter. His 16 Council colleagues are not in the room.
Still, Plan C is not definite yet. Republicans in the state Senate have said that they could be ready to vote on legislation granting the city requests as early as next Wednesday.
Here are some more Plan C details:
- Funding for the row offices – City Council, the City Commissioners, the Clerk of Quarter Sessions, the Sheriff and the Register of Wills – will not be changed. There are no layoffs projected in those departments.
- The Mayor’s office will see an almost 50 percent cut.
- Subsidies for the Art Museum and the Atwater Kent Museum will be severely reduced this fiscal year and cut to zero in the next fiscal year.
- Funding will not be altered for the Community College of Philadelphia.