Councilman Floats Ideas To Reduce Budget Hole

As budget negotiations drag on, Councilman Bill Green is plugging away at a proposal to decrease the size of the budget hole.

Throughout the budget hearings, Green has been keeping a running tally of unfilled jobs and new positions being added to city government. He estimates that by cutting the vacant and new jobs, the city could save $40 million. Green also suggests lowering the budget surplus in the 2011 fiscal year from $64 million to $38 million.

If the city took both recommendations, Green said the budget hole would be reduced down to about $80 million, instead of the roughly $150 million hole Mayor Nutter says he must plug

Green says he has been talking with colleagues about his ideas, although he doesn’t know if either of these will figure into the final compromise.

“On council, everybody is open to any option that will essentially maintain services citizens care about and lower the amount of revenue enhancement,” Green said.

Finance Director Rob Dubow questioned Green’s calculations to get to $40 million in cuts, saying he hadn't seen the breakdown. He also noted that there is a lot of turnover in city government and sometimes the city has to fill jobs.

“I have some questions about the numbers, what it would mean for services,” Dubow said. “We would be willing to talk with him about it.”

Dubow also said he had concerns about letting the fund balance go much lower. “We don’t have a rainy day fund. That’s really the only cushion we have,” he said.