Nutter Briefs Council On Budget Plan

Mayor Nutter this morning started briefing City Council members in small groups about his proposed budget plan, which – as the Daily News first reported this week -- includes a trash fee and a soda tax.

Council members exiting the closed-door briefings expressed concerns about the proposals for the 2011 fiscal year, but acknowledged that the city doesn’t have a lot of options to close a projected $150 million budget gap in the next financial year. The mayor will give his budget address tomorrow.

“He’s trying to avoid going back to service cuts,” said Councilman Frank Rizzo.

Councilman Darrell Clarke said he understood the mayor is in a tough spot.

“I’m concerned, but we understand we must do something,” he said. “Unfortunately there are not a lot [of options] to raise the kind of revenues we’re talking about.”

Still, Clarke said he had concerns about the trash fee being billed as a flat rate regardless of income.

“It’s not a means based proposal at this point,” he said. “An individual making $30,000 will pay the same as an individual making a million.”

And Councilwoman Marian Tasco said she expected council to seriously mull the proposals over during their budget hearings.

“The question I have is what are our alternatives,” Tasco said. “That’s what we’re going to have to do….This is going to be a painful deliberation.”

See our previous reporting on the soda tax and the trash fee.