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Philadelphia DA Says Mayor Is Underbudgeting Fighting Crime

(Philadelphia DA Seth Williams testifies about his department's proposed budget for next fiscal year.  Image from City of Phila. TV)

(Philadelphia DA Seth Williams testifies about his department’s proposed budget for next fiscal year. Image from City of Phila. TV)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)  — Philadelphia’s district attorney is criticizing the mayor for not boosting his budget amid the rising cost of putting criminals behind bars.

DA Seth Williams went before City Council’s budget committee today asking for an extra $2.75 million above the nearly $32 million that Mayor Nutter has proposed for the district attorney’s office.

Williams said he needs the additional cash to keep pace with rising salaries and other expenses, and without this money he’d be forced to scale back on programs such as the Public Nuisance Task Force.

And Williams told that lawmakers that Mayor Nutter’s budget people won’t even talk about it.

(DA Seth Williams.  Image from City of Phila. TV)

(DA Seth Williams. Image from City of Phila. TV)

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“I even wrote a detailed letter to the mayor on March 6th, talking about the minimums that we would need to sustain our office,” he said, “but no one ever responded.  And they still haven’t.   The mayor simply seems to assume that you don’t need prosecutors to help fight crime, or to find new and better ways to make the city safer.   He is clearly wrong.”

(DA Seth Williams.  Image from City of Phila. TV)

(DA Seth Williams. Image from City of Phila. TV)

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Councilmembers joined in the criticism, openly questioning the mayor’s priorities to fund areas like the Office of Arts and Culture while claiming limited resources for the DA.

In response, the mayor’s budget director, Rebecca Rhynhart, said the administration would be “happy to sit down and talk” about the DA’s request.   But she cautioned that the city is grappling with “limited resources” and that “there are difficult decisions” facing Council and the mayor on spending priorities.

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