Budget discussions under way in Philadelphia City Council

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    Philadelphia City Council has started its review of Mayor Michael Nutter’s $4.5 billion budget proposal. Day one included some sparring between council members and Nutter administration officials.

    Council members quizzed the city officials on everything from how Philadelphia will pay for recent union contract settlements and outstanding labor issues to how many hybrid cars are in the city’s fleet.

    City officials are doing the best they can with limited resources and are expanding in some areas, said Everett Gillison, the mayor’s chief of staff, during a Wednesday budget hearing.

    Nutter has proposed $2 million the department of Licenses and Inspections to strengthen demolition controls to insure safe public and private demolitions, Gillison said.

    “An additional $2.5 million is proposed for the Free Library to provide six-day service at all branches throughout the city,” he said.

    Councilman Wilson Goode grilled Office of Economic Opportunity head Angela Dowd Burton about an apparent decline in participation of businesses run by the disadvantaged in city contracts.

    The sparring over the spending plan will go on for several weeks before a budget accord is reached sometime in the spring.

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