Cutting the city's vehicle fleet

March 12, 2009 3:21:30 PM PDT
Mayor Michael Nutter is taking the car keys away from some city employees. Nutter announced a new plan today to cut the city's vehicle fleet and save more than a million dollars.

Like the repo man, Mayor Nutter surveys some of the nearly 250 cars he has recalled from among the city's vehicle fleet.

They are headed for auction. He wants to double that number by early summer.

He says he has already cut in half the number of city vehicles driven home by employees. Nutter knows the city fleet reduction is a crowd pleaser.

"Citizens want us to reduce the size of the city's fleet and I'm here to say today, I heard you," Mayor Nutter said.

Today's display was timed to set the stage for next week's new budget rollout, which Action News confirmed will feature a call for a 2 year 17-percent property tax hike and a 1-percent sales tax increase.

The mayor's budget proposal which will require City Council's ok portends a showdown this summer with city labor unions when contracts expire.

"We must reduce the cost of pension and healthcare costs as they continue to escalate," Mayor Nutter said.

The freshly reelected president of the largest city worker's union has staked out his position.

"No, I'm not going to give back anything, I said that repeatedly, and to me that's not negotiation," Pete Matthews said.

The budget process this spring will produce lots of sound and fury in city council and hours of tense negotiation with the labor unions as the struggle to produce a balanced budget grinds along in this economic climate.

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