Sources: No controversy in Nutter's 'legacy budget'

Posted: March 06, 2014

THE BUDGET PROPOSAL Mayor Nutter will deliver tomorrow will include moderate funding boosts for selected departments but no major tax initiatives or deep cuts, according to sources in the administration, City Council and other City Hall operatives.

A source said the proposal will be Nutter's "legacy budget" - how he wants to be remembered - as next year's budget season will come in the thick of the race to choose his successor and likely receive less attention.

Parks & Recreation will get money to expand library service, Licenses and Inspections will get a boost to fund demolition regulations created after June's deadly building collapse, and the newly established land bank and related agencies will see increases to launch the initiative, sources said.

Nutter, who often notes that the city in recent budgets has increased its aid to the financially strapped school district by $155 million per year, is not expected to propose new ways to help fund the schools from city coffers.

The mayor has been calling on state lawmakers to approve a city-only tax on cigarettes that passed Council 16-0 last year. The measure could produce more than $80 million for the district but faces staunch opposition from the state House GOP majority.

He also wants Harrisburg to amend authorizing legislation for an extension of a 1 percentage-point sales-tax increase (to 8 percent) that could provide $70 million each for the school district and pension fund.

If more vacated school buildings aren't sold, the city may need to pay the district up to $36 million this year to fulfill a pledge Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke made in the fall.

Although overall tax revenues are on pace to exceed expectations, there isn't much more wiggle room in next year's budget, thanks to new costs.

The most recent Quarterly City Manager's Report, which covered a period ending Dec. 31, projected the end-of-year fund balance to be $101.5 million - $12.7 million below target.

That was before Nutter and the white-collar municipal union settled a four-year contract dispute with an agreement projected to cost $122 million over five years.

The administration this year also gave up its appeal of a firefighters union arbitration award.

The severe winter weather is also making a dent in the budget.


On Twitter: @SeanWalshDN

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|