In today’s installment of “As the Budget World Turns,” Mayor Nutter has indicated to Council that he would be prepared to cut an additional $17 million from next year’s budget to help plug a projected hole of up to $150 million.
Nutter’s Chief of Staff Clay Armbrister sent a letter to Council, offering to cut:
- $5.5 million from the prisons budget
- $3 million in police overtime
- $3.5 million by changing vehicle financing
- $4 million by removing a contingency fund for emergencies
- $1 million from Council’s budget
Nutter said that any further cuts would severely impact services, saying: “we’ve gone over many of the suggestions and thoughts and recommendations. Many of the other ideas are not particularly feasible.”
Councilman Bill Green, who has pushed hard for substantial cuts, argued in City Council that the city could do more.
“It is a weak and non-substantive response to responsible spending reductions,” Green said in response to the letter. Green has proposed not filling vacant jobs and lowering the city's surplus funds to reduce the deficit.
Council and Nutter continue to debate how to make up the rest of the budget gap before the May 31 budget deadline. Nutter's original budget proposal included an annual $300 trash-collection fee and a 2-cents-per-ounce soda tax, which would be charged as part of a retailer's business tax. Council has balked at both moves, with many members preferring a property-tax hike and more cuts.
Nutter said he is still pushing for some version of the soda tax, even at a rate lower than 2 cents per ounce.
"I'm very committed to the sugar-sweetened beverage tax," Nutter said. "We've had a lot of conversations on a lot of different scenarios and we're flexible."