Mayor Nutter delivers budget message

March 3, 2011 3:47:03 PM PST
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter delivered his budget message today before city council, but he did so amid much uncertainty about how much the city will have to contribute to spending cuts in Harrisburg and Washington.

Nutter brought a good news spending plan to city council today. This included nearly $3.5-billion with no major spending cuts, no new taxes, and all the city's pools and recreation centers will be open this summer.

The mayor's also starting a new class of police cadets

But there are some storm clouds on the horizon that could rain on this parade.

Certain to come are those massive aid cuts from Harrisburg and Washington.

"We know that these cuts, if not made carefully and strategically, will have a devastating impact on the city of Philadelphia," Nutter said.

As aid activists pulled off a short, loud protest before being evicted, council members listened to the mayor knowing this budget may not survive until April Fool's Day.

"The reality is it will probably be a short-lived rosy picture, so to speak, because we fully anticipate on a state level, on a federal level it will be significant reductions in revenue to come to the city of Philadelphia," Councilman Darrell Clarke said.

"We know that there's going to be an impact on the Philadelphia School District; we don't know yet the magnitude of that impact," Councilwoman Blondelle Reynolds said.

And what about organized labor? The unions have been without a contract for 2 years and they're not happy.

"What we've been doing is saving the city a tremendous amount of money by not having any pay increases for 4 years and no increases in our healthcare," Pete Matthews, President of District Council 33, said.

In this election year, what these council incumbents running for reelection want most is a smooth budget process without having to fight with the mayor or make unpopular cuts, but with so much uncertainty out here that may not be possible.