Mayor Nutter says he’s continuing with his effort to seek federal aid for cities. Last week he traveled to DC to deliver a letter – co-signed by the mayors of Atlanta and Phoenix -- to the Treasury Department asking that part of the $700 billion bailout fund to be used for ailing cities.
Now more cities are looking to join the effort. Nutter said Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer support the plan and he is talking to others. The mayors want the federal government to provide loans to municipal governments to shore up pension programs and invest in infrastructure projects. They also are asking for a short-term loan program for cities that are having difficulty borrowing cash to pay their bills.
“We’re trying to fill potholes, pick up trash, put police officers on the street, deal with our pension system and the like,” Nutter said.
Nutter hopes to gather more data to provide to the federal government this week. He’s trying to organize a conference call of city finance directors to get more detailed information on how the financial crisis is affecting cities. After meeting Friday, with the Treasury Department, top staffers for U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and the transition team for President-elect Barack Obama, Nutter said he was asked for more data.
“Every one of them, when we finished our presentation asked for more information,” said Nutter of his meetings Friday with the Treasury Department, top staffers for U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and the transition team for President-elect Barack Obama. “They said they wanted to hear more from the mayors, they needed data.”
Nutter is also asking other mayors to reach out to their congressional representatives to ask them to support the effort.