By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mayor Nutter this coming week will unveil his new budget — a spending plan that is likely to be fiercely debated in City Council. And that is prompting one lawmaker to propose a change to the city charter — so that Council has its own separate budget office.

City Council chambers will be packed this coming Thursday as Mayor Nutter unveils his new budget – one that will be hashed over by council members over the new few months.

Councilman at large David Oh believes council is always at the mercy of the assumptions and projections of the mayor’s own budget experts. So he is proposing a charter change to allow for the creation of a separate city council budget office.

“That way we could do a better job and know what kind of monies do we need to raise, or don’t need to raise, what’s effective, not effective, when we look at the entire idea of raising taxes, and the question of what do they pay for.”

Council already has staffers who advise members of budgetary matters, but Oh believes a formal office would give them direct access to the primary data used by the mayor’s numbers-crunchers.

“We have basically what is almost a $4 billion budget that we have to look at in a very short time. And we actually – when it comes to going as deep as I think we should, as deep as the owners would want us to go, I think we need more tools.”

Such a change would not come in time for this year’s budget debate, as a charter change would first have to be approved by residents in a voter referendum.

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