City Fiscal Crisis

codergrrl's picture

Mayor Nutter just announced that he will be closing 62 pools, and 11 libraries as cost cutting measures.
Also, no snow removal on tertiary streets, and an end of tire and bulk pick ups.
He will also be laying off 220 city workers.

lauraska's picture

Ha....they don't do snow

Ha....they don't do snow removal anyway, so no big deal on that one.

dan's picture

I'm sympathetic. But how

I'm sympathetic.

But how about firing all the city workers who don't do their job?
Surely that would save a whole lot more money.

(Notice - I'm not saying all city workers don't do their job. I'm just saying there's a substantial number who don't.)

Becky's picture

In addition to services

In addition to services being cut, city employees are taking a hit. Exempt employees are giving up a bonus, and anyone making over 50K is being asked to go on a 5 day furlough w/o pay this year (and next year too).

A few weeks ago, Bill Green, Maria Quinones-Sanchez, and Curtis Jones, 3 new city council members, put out a list of money saving suggestions for the city. Some of them I heard in Nutter's address (i.e., overtime reduction). I wonder if the city is doing any of the other items.

http://www.philly.com/dailynews/opinion/20081020_CITY_SAVINGS__THE_FRESHMAN_15.html

kdubs215's picture

Where did all the money go ?

Where did all the money go ? Oh thats right nutter is trying to fix what street broke .. spent millions over millions on safe streets and we got worse ... good luck nutter ...

lauraska's picture

I agree with Dan. Other

I agree with Dan. Other than getting some great help from a few police officers and one guy in the Mayor's Action Center, I have yet to deal with a city employee that wasn't rude and lazy.

However, I think we all have to take a deep breath and realize that this is what happens when there economic downturn. Governments rely on taxes, which are paid through earnings, property values, and sales of goods. Bad economies mean less earnings, lower property values, and less shopping. When I lived in another city that I won't name, a new mayor came in to find the city's economy in tatters...so he suspended a bunch of services, including recycling, and people went nuts. So the mayor explained just how much money the former mayor (who everyone had thought was God up until then) had wasted, and people calmed down. And within a year or so, all those services were back to normal. Let's just hear what Nutter has to say before we start saying that it's only our neighborhood that's being affected.

codergrrl's picture

Mmmmmm..... that casino

This comment has been moved here.

dan's picture

The city does residential

The city does residential street cleaning?

Not in our neighborhood.

codergrrl's picture

Aw Dan, your just a big

This comment has been moved here.

jbette01's picture

Nutter's cost savings

Nutter's cost savings measures:

In public safety, we've achieved substantial savings with no police or fire layoffs, no fire station closings and no reduction in emergency medical services.

But we plan to reduce police overtime and not fill 200 vacant positions. Town Watch funding will see a 50 percent cut. In the fire department, by reducing overtime, we'll be able to cut 5 engine companies and 2 ladder companies, while maintaining overall safety.

After careful review of building conditions, utilization and distance to other libraries in the Free Library system, we'll close 11 libraries and eliminate Sunday hours at three regional libraries.

All recreation centers will remain open, especially during the most vulnerable times for our youth  after school and during the summers. But during the summer, we'll close 62 of 73 outdoor pools and 6 of 8 indoor pools. In the winter, we'll close three ice rinks unless private funding can be secured.

In the Streets Department, we'll see increased revenue thanks to weekly single-stream recycling. But the department will devote less money to street resurfacing, and we'll end residential street cleaning, snow removal on tertiary streets, and bulk and tire collections.

In all, we'll layoff more than 220 city employees and eliminate nearly 600 unfilled positions, more than 1,660 seasonal part-time jobs and about 570 contractual, non-city jobs.

nhb's picture

Part of Mayor Nutter's

Part of Mayor Nutter's speech, http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/politics&id=6492173

Let me highlight some of the more significant changes:
In public safety, we've achieved substantial savings with no police or fire layoffs, no fire station closings and no reduction in emergency medical services.
But we plan to reduce police overtime and not fill 200 vacant positions. Town Watch funding will see a 50 percent cut. In the fire department, by reducing overtime, we'll be able to cut 5 engine companies and 2 ladder companies, while maintaining overall safety.
After careful review of building conditions, utilization and distance to other libraries in the Free Library system, we'll close 11 libraries and eliminate Sunday hours at three regional libraries.
All recreation centers will remain open, especially during the most vulnerable times for our youth  after school and during the summers. But during the summer, we'll close 62 of 73 outdoor pools and 6 of 8 indoor pools. In the winter, we'll close three ice rinks unless private funding can be secured.
In the Streets Department, we'll see increased revenue thanks to weekly single-stream recycling. But the department will devote less money to street resurfacing, and we'll end residential street cleaning, snow removal on tertiary streets, and bulk and tire collections.
In all, we'll layoff more than 220 city employees and eliminate nearly 600 unfilled positions, more than 1,660 seasonal part-time jobs and about 570 contractual, non-city jobs.

maryt621's picture

dan wrote:I'm

dan wrote:

I'm sympathetic.

But how about firing all the city workers who don't do their job?
Surely that would save a whole lot more money.

(Notice - I'm not saying all city workers don't do their job. I'm just saying there's a substantial number who don't.)

I wonder if Goode's Assistant is taking a paycut? Oh, I forogt, that's not Nutter's "department".

I agree 100% with you Dan, fire the people who don't do their jobs and keep the Police and Firemen where they are --let's get real here!

teener's picture

I thought the speech (read

I thought the speech (read online) was really good. However one problem I have always had is why the city and city services don't take more action getting the money they are due.

For example, L&I always says they don't have the money...money money money..but if they actually fined all the owners of these vacant houses that are not maintained and if they fined the sumlords that illegally rent these problem properties and then actually followed up and fought them to get the money from these fines..wouldn't L&I be in a better position finacially? L&I can fine the owners of a vacant property up to $200.00 a day for a broken window...we had a house on our street that had 3 different broken windows for 9 months...it was finally boarded up but the owner/company of this property was never fined the $200.00 a day for the broken windows. Maybe if they actually did that they wouldn't be in such a finacial period of woe and could get more done...

This is just one example from personal experience and obviously it makes me upset whenver I think about it.

From Nutter's speach-

Our goal is to:
Preserve programs that work
Adjust these programs to actual needs
Find real efficiencies that can be implemented quickly
Collect money owed to the city
Rebalance fees for some city services to better cover our costs and
Share the burden of sacrifice that spending cuts require

towner609's picture

With 62 pools closing - can

With 62 pools closing - can you imagine how many more fire plugs will be opened up in the summer, since there won't be a pool to go to.

AM's picture

The Fishtown area seems to

The Fishtown area seems to be shouldering a lot of "the burden of sacrifice that spending cuts require."

Ftown66's picture

dan wrote:The city does

dan wrote:

The city does residential street cleaning?

Not in our neighborhood.

The only time in the past that I have seen this is during city election times. But this hasn't happened in many, many years.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Here's the link to the

Here's the link to the official rebalancing plan. You will also find maps for closures of fire engines, ladders, libraries and pools.

http://www.phila.gov/pdfs/Rebalancing_Plan_FY09_FY13_Five_Yr_Plan.pdf

Also, add to the list they are closing our pool!!!!!!!

Kids of all ages -- you cannot go to the library, you cannot cool off during the summer; so, what do you do during the long hot summer.

teener's picture

I am happy to say that your

I am happy to say that your kids will be able to come to Pop's Playground if they want...Spring 09 the skate space will be open and our sprinkler has also been fixed so at least kids will be able to cool off too.

Not that this makes the closing of the pool, library, or engine removal ok in any way shape or form.

Pure_Fishtown wrote:

Here's the link to the official rebalancing plan. You will also find maps for closures of fire engines, ladders, libraries and pools.

http://www.phila.gov/pdfs/Rebalancing_Plan_FY09_FY13_Five_Yr_Plan.pdf

Also, add to the list they are closing our pool!!!!!!!

Kids of all ages -- you cannot go to the library, you cannot cool off during the summer; so, what do you do during the long hot summer.

Check it out- Pops Playground has a website @ http://www.popsplayground.org

tudor's picture

The city austerity plan has

The city austerity plan has a list of about 8 or 10 other big cities that plan similar kinds of belt tightening stuff. Some of them have got to be thinking about a big city federal bailout, don't you think? I mean, if the banks and insurance and auto companies have them now, and taxpayers are gonna get a second economic stimulus package, why not cities?

lauraska's picture

tudor wrote:The city

tudor wrote:

The city austerity plan has a list of about 8 or 10 other big cities that plan similar kinds of belt tightening stuff. Some of them have got to be thinking about a big city federal bailout, don't you think? I mean, if the banks and insurance and auto companies have them now, and taxpayers are gonna get a second economic stimulus package, why not cities?

Seriously? Does anyone understand how this works? We don't even really have the money for the bailout for the banks. We just added it to our federal debt load, which is too big to even comprehend right now. Do you know who's GONNA pay for that bailout? US! With...wait for it...wait for it...TAXES. This is how it works. I highly doubt that cities are expecting a bailout if they are planning such serious cuts. Why would they want their citizens to have to tighten their belts even more? As Nutter's plan indicates, he's trying to make these cuts to prevent tax hikes.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Has anyone heard or seen

Has anyone heard or seen anything about the crisis from the city's overseer, PICA?

tudor's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:Has

Pure_Fishtown wrote:

Has anyone heard or seen anything about the crisis from the city's overseer, PICA?


Doesn't look like their website has posted anything more current than September: http://www.picapa.org/

That was a while ago, considering how fast things have gone downhill since then. Their scenarios all seemed to be pretty rosy then, at least compared to now.

tudor's picture

lauraska wrote: Seriously?

lauraska wrote:

Seriously? Does anyone understand how this works? We don't even really have the money for the bailout for the banks. We just added it to our federal debt load, which is too big to even comprehend right now. Do you know who's GONNA pay for that bailout? US! With...wait for it...wait for it...TAXES. This is how it works. I highly doubt that cities are expecting a bailout if they are planning such serious cuts. Why would they want their citizens to have to tighten their belts even more? As Nutter's plan indicates, he's trying to make these cuts to prevent tax hikes.

The states are probably going to get a partial bailout for Medicaid and infrastructure projects in the economic stimulus package. The cities are a lot more deserving of some help that Ford or GM, who keep some people on their payrolls long after their jobs are vaporized or their services are required now. We're going to be socked on taxes anyway. It's only fair to put some of it where it will do us some good and not just some bank or the Ford family.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

I found some interesting

I found some interesting delinquent property tax stats at Hallwatch -- http://www.hallwatch.org/proptax/about/redelinq/stats/summary. They have it broken down in aged receivables, zip code, top 100 offenders and by non-Philadelphia resident vs resident. The list of offenders is priceless.

There are over 49,000 industrial properties owing over $232 million; over 100,000 individual/partnership properties owing over $335 million; for a grand total of $568,155,089.62. $279,537,167.76 of this is 11 years or older.

In 19125 zip code, there are 11,811 delinquent properties owing over $8 million.

The city should really start getting back some of this money to help offset the crisis. A half of billion bucks can save the 11 libraries which the Mayor said will not reopen.

I know all of this mess is not the current Mayor's fault; a big part of the blame has to be put on Street's head too. Imagine what would happen if you didn't pay your property tax for eleven years.

Ftown66's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:I found

Pure_Fishtown wrote:

I found some interesting delinquent property tax stats at Hallwatch -- http://www.hallwatch.org/proptax/about/redelinq/stats/summary. They have it broken down in aged receivables, zip code, top 100 offenders and by non-Philadelphia resident vs resident. The list of offenders is priceless.

There are over 49,000 industrial properties owing over $232 million; over 100,000 individual/partnership properties owing over $335 million; for a grand total of $568,155,089.62. $279,537,167.76 of this is 11 years or older.

In 19125 zip code, there are 11,811 delinquent properties owing over $8 million.

The city should really start getting back some of this money to help offset the crisis. A half of billion bucks can save the 11 libraries which the Mayor said will not reopen.

I know all of this mess is not the current Mayor's fault; a big part of the blame has to be put on Street's head too. Imagine what would happen if you didn't pay your property tax for eleven years.

The person who owned the forks bar prior to it being the crazy fish at cedar and norris was one of the cities biggest dead beat tax payers. There was a big write up a couple of years ago on him and a few others in the inquirer. He owed something like $400.000 dollars on a hand load of commercial properties. Mostly rental properties. This person also owns the old philly or at least he still did a few years ago. Not sure if he sold that too. Don't want to write his name here. Apparently it's easy to do because the city has no sure fire way of collecting it.

biggeo's picture

Ftown66 wrote:dan wrote:The

Ftown66 wrote:
dan wrote:

The city does residential street cleaning?

Not in our neighborhood.

The only time in the past that I have seen this is during city election times. But this hasn't happened in many, many years.

i was just thinking of this today, when i was a kid one day a week a water truck would come down the street spray it down then a crew of men (city workers) would follow and sweep the street from end to end. every week ,oh for the good old days

lauraska's picture

I think one of the problems

I think one of the problems is that they don't have the manpower to go about collecting the money. And they will probably have even less once they lay off folks.

brooke's picture

They don't need to: hire a

They don't need to: hire a firm a handle the tax sale foreclosure proceedings and earn the rest back when the places sell. Now obviously, the place to start is Center City and work outwards. The city becomes first lien holder so they are assured to get their money.

If you knew how difficult it was to buy properties to renovate in this city right now, you'd be amazed given the "bad real estate market." I have a handful of contractors looking for places to renovate and nothing in a reasonable price range is on the market. I have a feeling these properties would get picked up very quickly.