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    Council not keen on shrinking itself

    Philadelphia City Council members are not happy with a suggestion to shrink their legislative body to cut costs. The city’s political watchdog group says Council’s seventeen member makeup was established at a time when the city had twice as many residents. WHYY’s Susan Phillips reports.

    Philadelphia City Council members are not happy with a suggestion to shrink their legislative body to cut costs. The city’s political watchdog group says Council’s seventeen member makeup was established at a time when the city had twice as many residents. WHYY’s Susan Phillips reports.

    Transcript:
    Council’s budget has grown from about $10 millionin 2000 to $17 million in the current fiscal year.  That’s an average of one million dollars a year for each council member.

    With the city facing a budget crisis that could result in layoffs and cuts to city services, Committee of Seventy President Zack Stalberg says money could be saved by reducing the number of council members.

    At-large councilman Jim Kenney says if the entire council were eliminated tomorrow, the budget crisis would still exist.

    Kenney: “Certainly looking at a reduction in size is a legitimate issue. I do think that the overall serious problems facing the city — pension, revenue enhancements, gas works – gets overshadowed when organizations like the Committee of Seventy throw a red herring into the process.”

    Stalberg says, with the 311 non-emergency call center up and running, there is less need for council members to provide constituent services.

    Listen:
    Click on the play button below or right click on this link and choose “Save Link As” to download.

    [audio: reports20090226council.mp3]

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