Councilman Green shaking sofa cushions for savings

At-large City Councilman Bill Green is searching high and low for ways to pare a few dollars out of Mayor Nutter's proposed $3.78 billion budget before council approves one of a variety of tax hikes under consideration. No line item, regardless of how small, is apparently safe from his review.

At the moment, he is grilling representatives of the Procurement Department. Why, he wants to know, has it taken so long for them to develop an electronic procurement system which would save the city money?

Earlier in the day, he warned recently hired city workers that, as far as he was concerned, their jobs were not safe and could be eliminated in the light of the budget crisis. At another moment, he laid into Budget Director Steve Agostini for failing to include revenue estimates from the potential roll out of a street furniture contract (which would make the city money off of advertising) in this year's budget. Agostini said it was his judgment that those revenues were too uncertain to include in the budget.

Not even the teen representatives on the Youth Commission are safe. He warned them yesterday their budgets could be slashed as well.

Mayor Nutter's budget includes $33 million in proposed cuts, but Nutter's focus this cycle has clearly been on raising revenue, not reducing spending. The administration feels it has cut as much as it can, without badly harming city services, in prior budgets. Green however clearly thinks more cuts can be found. It is not yet clear if the rest of City Council agrees.

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