3,000 Philly workers could be laid off

PHILADELPHIA - August 20, 2009 In his latest doomsday budget scenario, the mayor says the lack of help from Harrisburg will force what he calls the biggest single workforce reduction in city history.

Nutter says a review of 12,000 city workers will be made, and the 3,000 to be laid off will be decided.

Notices will go out by mid-September, and the layoffs will be effective on October 2nd.

A news conference detailing the cuts was held at City Hall on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Nutter announced $20 million in cuts. He said the city is now losing $10 million a month because state lawmakers won't approve a temporary 1% sales tax increase and adjustments for pension payments.

Nutter said the measures won't cost the state a dime. But if not passed, the city will feel the devastating effects for decades.

The mayor also said this week that two dozen full time positions will be eliminated, the 100-member police cadet class set to begin in the fall will be delayed, snow removal and road repair equipment purchases will be put on hold. And starting at the end of the month, the newly created 311 City Call Center will no longer run 24/7.

The Pennsylvania House has already passed House Bill 1828 approving the measures requested by the city. It is now the hands of the Senate.

Mayor lists proposed cuts

In a release Thursday afternoon, the mayor's office outlined all of the budget cuts said to be necessary to in order to maintain a balanced budget and five year plan:

-The Police Department's budget will be reduced by $43.9 million. This will include reductions of 739 sworn police officer positions, and 43 civilian positions, and will not allow for replacement of police officers that leave through attrition. The total position reduction is expected to reach 972 for FY10, including 929 sworn officers.

-The Fire Department will deactivate six engine companies and three ladder companies in FY10, reducing 36 officer positions and 120 firefighter positions. With this number of company deactivations, fire stations are also likely to close. The Fire Department will deactivate five Advanced Life Support (ALS) medic units, reducing 40 paramedic positions. The City will immediately conduct the necessary study to identify the specific units or locations impacted by the funding reductions. The Fire Department's budget will be reduced by $16.7 million.

-The Streets department's budget will be reduced by $14.4 million. Waste collection will no longer be collected on a weekly basis – instead, garbage will only be picked up on a bi-weekly schedule. This may lead to increased litter and short dumping problems. The Department will also reduce citywide cleaning: $1.7 million will be reduced through eliminating all mechanical cleaning, litter basket support, and special event cleaning, resulting in increased litter problems. The Department will also eliminate several contracts and services, including removing bulbs from 4,000 street lights for arterial roadways, and switching 1,000 traffic signals to all red flash, thereby converting each intersection in to an all-way stop.

-In the Health Department, two City Health Centers will cease operations, reducing expenditures by $4.7 million. This would eliminate 112 positions, and have significant impacts on citizens who rely on the health services that these centers provide. The City will immediately conduct the necessary study to identify the specific locations impacted by the funding reductions.

-The Free Library will cease operations at all libraries (including all 53 branches and Central), for a reduction of $29.6 million and 490 positions. This will have a significant impact on residents, especially children who use libraries after school, adults who use computer facilities for job applications, and those who use the library facilities for research purposes. Efforts will be made to ensure the safety and security of the buildings.

-The Recreation Department will cease operations at all recreation facilities, at a reduction of $30.8 million and 520 positions. This will include all gymnasia, senior adult centers, ball fields, swimming pools, and playgrounds, impacting children and adults who use these facilities. Efforts will be made to ensure the safety and security of the facilities.

-The Fairmount Park Commission will cease operations, at a reduction of $11 million, and 140 positions. Efforts will be made to ensure the safety and security of the facilities.

-The City Planning Commission will cease operations, eliminating 39 positions at a reduction of $2.4 million.

-The Commerce Department will cease operations, eliminating 20 positions at a reduction of $3.3 million.

-The Department of Licenses and Inspections will be reduced by 6 positions and $300,000.

-Funding of $1 million for the Mural Arts program will be eliminated.

-The Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy will cease operations. Funding for cultural programs will cease, and positions will be eliminated, decreasing expenditures by $3.9 million. Funding and subsidies for Philadelphia museums, such as the Art Museum, Atwater Kent Museum and African American Museum will also be eliminated ($2.4 million).

-The Mayor's office will eliminate 18 positions, reducing the departmental budget by $1.4 million.

-The Finance Department will reduce expenditures by $2 million, including eliminating 23 positions. The Revenue Department will also be reduced by $1.5 million, eliminating 12 positions.

-The Managing Director's Office will be reduced by 21 positions and $2.6 million.

-The Office of Human Resources will reduce expenditures by $460,000, including eliminating 8 positions.

-The Records Department will reduce spending by $800,000 and eliminate 12 positions.

-Funding for City Boards and Commissions, including the Board of Ethics, the Youth Commission and the Historical Commission will be reduced by $3.6 million.

-In addition, this Plan provides no funding for the First Judicial District, the District Attorney, and the Defender Association for the remainder of FY10, but does provide funding for the District Attorney and the Defender Association in the following years. This is a reduction of $114 million in FY10 (after court-associated revenues are removed), and $80 million annually from FY11 to FY14.

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