By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council is wrapping up weeks of public hearings on Mayor Nutter’s budget.
Now they are working on setting a property tax rate and getting an additional $60 million dollars for the School District.
Council members and the mayor have until the end of this month to reach a budget deal, though that deadline could very well slip.
The top issue facing the lawmakers and Nutter involves the new Actual Value Initiative property tax system, with the actual tax rate and the nature of relief measures for homeowners still to be decided.
A separate question is whether to give an extra 60 million dollars to the schools, and if so, how to raise that money.
In a speech last week, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said none of this will be easy, “it will take our collective will to get anything done.”
She also said council members need clarity in order to do the heavy lifting of raising the new money.
Her colleague Curtis Jones joined Reynolds Brown in speaking in favor of the School District request. “We need to have listened very closely, taken notes, as we make the hard choice over the next month.”
Councilman Bill Green sounded skeptical of the district’s request. “I just get the feeling that people think that we are living in Candy-land. We have to live within our means, and every single week we give away a little bit more here, and a little bit more there.”
There is virtually no appetite on Council to raise the $60 million through property taxes.
Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez has proposed adjustments to the tax on the use and Occupancy Tax on business properties, while others are looking at a hike in the liquor-by-the-drink tax.