Residents give Nutter an earful

November 25, 2008 9:09:42 PM PST
During this time of extremely tough economic choices, the city of Philadelphia is hardly immune. Mayor Michael Nutter held the first of eight town hall meetings with citizens of Philadelphia on Tuesday night, many of whom don't agree with the choices Nutter has already made.

Before the meeting, residents were asked to prioritize city services. The mayor said the sheet would be collected and tallied and used as a guideline for the 2010 budget.

But he said the city is in a financial crisis of untold proportions and the proposed budget cuts the current year will remain unchanged.

For many of the hundreds of residents that's just not good enough. A few implied to the mayor and Comissioner Charles Ramsey that shutting down dozens of pools, cutting back police overtime and closing eleven area libraries would be more detrimental to the city than a $108 million deficit.

"Next summer we will have things in place to provide opportunities for them," said Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. "I wish I could say the young people I deal with... I wish I was lucky enough they were hanging out in libraries."

The budget cuts also included a cut in city workers salaries including the Mayor's and hundreds of layoffs. But many demanded Tuesday night that top city officials sacrifice even more.

One person suggested that city officials drive their own vehicles.

"The city has never bought me a vehicle," said Mayor Nutter. "Every city official has to make their own individual decision."

There were those who appreciated the opportunity to voice their concerns, and suggested a look outside the government to help heal the fiscal crisis.

One person suggested that Philadelphia businesses get involved and adopt the libraries on the chopping block.

Thats an idea that may have already caught on. Earlier Tuesday Comcast Spectacor chairman Ed Snider announced his youth hockey foundation will take over the operation of three ice skating rinks.

Mayor Nutter said he hopes to form more partnerships with private entities .

You can see a listing of the other public meetings by Clicking Here.


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