A ruling by Commonwealth Court yesterday gave Philadelphia another chance to weigh in on how much it must contribute to the health-care plans of police officers.

Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer ordered the case to return to a lower trial court because a previous lower court finding did not give enough consideration to the city's ability to pay for the additional health-care contributions. Those contributions total $16 million more than the city has in its budget for fiscal years 2006 and 2007.

The ruling, in effect, was a victory for the city, and its fiscal overseer, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. Both entities argued that the arbitration panel that initially decided the award did not give enough weight to the city's fiscal condition.

The case grew out an appeal the city filed of an arbitration panel's award of health-care benefit payments to members of Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents 6,700 Philadelphia police officers. - Marcia Gelbart

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