Mayor's budget plan would tap trash & soft drinks for revenue, sources say

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For the second consecutive year, the Nutter administration is considering instituting fees for trash collection. (Daily News photo illustration)

KEEP YOUR wallets handy.

A fee for trash collection and a tax on sugary beverages are expected to be included in Mayor Nutter's budget proposal, which he is set to unveil on Thursday, sources tell the Daily News.

Details were limited on exactly how those charges would work. Sources said the trash fee was likely to be a flat per-household charge.

Finance Director Rob Dubow wouldn't comment on the contents of the budget, except to again note that the city has a substantial budget gap.

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"We're facing really tough decisions because the size of the problem is really large and we've [already] done a lot of painful things over the last couple years," Dubow said.

The city faces a deficit of between $125 million and $150 million for the 2011 fiscal year, which starts July 1. Over the next five years, it's projected at $500 million to $700 million.

After Nutter releases his budget plan, it goes to City Council for approval. Last year, when Nutter proposed temporarily raising the property tax to help close a budget gap, Council balked and brokered a deal without a real-estate tax increase.

Council members said they would need more details on these fees before they could support them.

"It sounds good on the surface, but I have to look into it," said Councilwoman Janie Blackwell. "Something's got to be done. We've got to accept that."

Blackwell said she didn't want to see any more reductions of city services. And she said she hoped that some services could be added to balance out the new revenues.

"No cutting any services. Who wants to go through that battle again? People don't want to go through that again," Blackwell said.

Councilman Bill Green said he was waiting to see the full proposal.

"I want to see the specifics from the administration," Green said. "It looks like a year when we're going to have to be creative with respect to revenue measures to avoid cuts."

Last year, the administration floated the idea of a $5 weekly fee for trash pickup early in the budget process, quickly withdrawing it in the face of public outrage. At the time it said the fee would raise $85 million to $105 million.