Mayor Michael Nutter delivers budget address

PHILADELPHIA - March 8, 2012

That was mainly because the gallery was packed with disgruntled members of District Council 33 protesting their lack of a contract.

But the Mayor would not be bullied, saying the city can't keep up with the healthcare and pension benefit promises of the past.

"As I have said repeatedly, we must achieve work rule changes and reform healthcare and pensions for our employees," Nutter said.

While members of DC 33 may not have heard what they wanted to, members of the Philadelphia Police Department got some good news.

Mayor Nutter said the former Provident Mutual Life Insurance building at 46th and Market streets is set to become the city's new police headquarters.

The building would also house the city morgue and health department offices. Initial design costs are estimated at $9-million.

In addition, the new budget calls for $6.6-million in renovations for six police stations and 11 firehouses and for the hiring 400 more officers.

The mayor says the city can pay for all this while resuming cuts in the city wage tax and without a property tax hike. Though some homeowners will find themselves paying more, since all city properties are being reassessed under a new and, Nutter says, more accurate system.

"For decades, this broken, mysterious system has meant that many people have been paying more than they should, while others have paid less than they should," Nutter said.

Sixty percent of the property tax revenue will go to the school district. The city will also resume funding public pools, spend $20-million to renovate Love Park and close to $9-million to fix up rec centers.

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