Budget Director Says Police and Fire Cuts Looming Without More Tax Revenue

During town meetings in 2008, Mayor Nutter reacts to discussion on his proposed cuts in fire and library services at Kensington High School. Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers (left) answers questions. (File photo)

We've got more detail on the cuts Mayor Nutter says he'll have to make without additional budget revenue.

According to a letter Budget Director Stephen Agostini today sent to Nutter's chief of staff, the city needs to cut $20 million from the budget to manage city cash flow. In the letter he outlines the suggested cuts, which include:

  • Eliminating two police classes scheduled for this year -- $4.5 million
  • Deactivating two fire companies, eliminating 40 jobs -- $3.6 million
  • Cutting library hours to four days a week -- $2.5 million

The budget plan passed by Council this morning - which includes a 9.9 percent two-year property-tax hike, along with taxes on some tobacco products and an increased commercial-trash fee - gives the city a $42 million surplus-fund balance. Nutter says that is not enough money to get through the year, an argument that Council has not been sympathetic to so far.

Nutter this morning sent a letter to Council saying that if they don't pass a soda tax or increase the temporary property tax hike, that he will have to eliminate $20 million from the budget. Despite the threat, they did not vote on the soda tax.