Council will investigate cost of Philly firefighters’ award

    Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and the city firefighters union can’t agree on a pretty basic thing: how much their contract will cost. Last month, a Court of Common Pleas judge upheld the firefighter’s arbitration award, after the city appealed it.  

    Council is holding a hearing Wednesday to try to figure out the true price.  

    City officials say it will cost more than $200 million over five years. They argue Philadelphia can’t afford that. The firefighters insist it’ll cost just $66 million.  

    Councilman David Oh says the huge difference puts City Council in a bind.  

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    “At minimum, it’s the information that I believe Council members need in order to responsibly consider the budget,” says Oh.  

    Oh hopes that after pinning down a number, the city will begin paying for part of the contract.  

    “It is important,” he says. “So that we don’t end up in a situation where we have to go the taxpayers on an emergency basis trying to raise taxes and pay things down without planning.” 

    The city notified the court on Tuesday that it will appeal the firefighters’ recent award.

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