Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter plans to reveal his new budget and five-year plan for the city on Feb. 14 after delaying its presentation by two weeks.
Nutter’s administration planned to present the budget at the end of January but decided to wait until they determine what police commissioner Charles Ramsey needs for tackling the city’s crime. Ramsey has until the end of the month to prepare a plan for undertaking Philadelphia’s recently declared “crime emergency.”
After being sworn in as the city’s 98th mayor earlier this month, Nutter in his first official act signed an executive order declaring a crime emergency for Philadelphia.
Since this is a new administration, Nutter wants to wait to find out what funding Ramsey’s department will need, along with funding requests for all city departments, said Nutter’s spokesman Doug Oliver.
“The budget process is very complicated,” Oliver said. “It’s additionally complicated because this is the first one [for the Nutter administration], and everybody is looking at their budget from the perspective of a new administration.”
City finance director Robert Dubow also spoke with all the department heads and asked everyone to be as creative as possible in trying to find savings in their budgets between 3% to 5%, Oliver said. He said that trimming costs was not about service cuts, but rather about “finding ways to run government most efficiently.” Additionally, if departments could not find ways to save money, their task is to find ways to generate additional revenue, he said.
Philadelphia’s current operating budget is about $4 billion, and the city has about $1.2 billion of outstanding general obligation debt.