It's Our Money is asking various experts and advocates to grade the Nutter administration on its performance in the budget process -- it's handling of the process, and the quality of the budget it ultimately got, given the circumstances. This assessment is from Christine Knapp, Director of Outreach for Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future.
Comments: With the economic collapse wreaking havoc on the city budget, and without the luxury of time, the Nutter administration struggled to make quick decisions while also engaging the public. Proposals such as library closings and a new trash fee met with a backlash because a case hadn't been properly made for them. Still, a clear message was sent to the mayor: residents would rather see the city raise revenues than cut services. The Mayor took this to heart in deciding to raise the sales tax, but the city has nevertheless been forced to make some tremendous cuts in staff and services. I'm personally happy to see that the Mayor and his administration have not been penny-wise and pound foolish. For example, expanding the recycling program and investing in high-tech Big Belly trash cans is going to save the city millions of dollars a year in waste disposal costs. Similarly, keeping the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability staffed will help reduce city energy consumption and create dramatic savings. The administration should continue to pursue stimulus dollars and other funding sources to make investments that will help the city save money over the long term.