By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two weeks from tomorrow brings the deadline for Philadelphia City Council and Mayor Nutter to reach agreement on a budget.
But it’s looking less and less likely that the deadline will be reached.
The official word from City Council president Darrell Clarke is that the June 1st deadline to have a budget signed, sealed, and delivered to the mayor can still be reached:
“Being the optimist that I am, I believe we can get this done on time.”
But Council and the administration are clearly miles from agreement on how to funnel an extra $94 million to the Philadelphia school district.
Nutter wants to accomplish this as part of an overhaul of the city’s property tax system — a move that he denies is a tax increase (see related story).
Some councilmembers says the switch to the “Actual Value Initiative” should be delayed until all reassessments are complete.
Clarke says it’s a tough situation.
“I must say, this is arguably the most difficult budget, particularly related to the revenue sources, that I have ever seen in my 12 years on Council,” he told KYW Newsradio today.
Complicating matters, says Clarke, are moves by state lawmakers that could turn any agreement inside-out.
“We could conceivably pass a budget, (then) legislation gets introduced and passed in Harrisburg and it would undo everything we did on a local level. So this is a moving issue,” Clarke says.
The city charter mandates that a budget be signed by June 1st of each year. In past years that deadline has been breached with a bit of legislative sleight-of-hand: Council recesses its final May meeting without formally adjourning, and then calls that meeting back into session days or weeks later, when agreement has been reached.
The more vital deadline, however, is July 1st. That’s when the city’s new fiscal year begins, and without a new budget in place certain portions of city government would have to be shut down.