As Philadelphia budget hearings wind down, council members defend their causes

Philadelphia City Council is nearing the end of its budget hearings. Now is when the real brinksmanship begins. 

Council decided not to call back any school district officials for additional grilling on a day set aside for doing just that. Councilman at-large Bill Greenlee says there’s only so much they can extract from the district.

“The school district told us what they needed to tell us, now we have to figure out how to help them. I don’t think calling them back would have told us anything different,” he said.

Before retiring, former Councilman Frank Rizzo lived through more than a decade and a half of budget negotiations. He says now the wheeling and dealing begins between council and the mayor’s office.

“There’s a lot of back and forth when it comes to pet projects, especially the district council people, things that were cut from their budgets,” said Rizzo. “Intentionally, I think the administration does these things to kind of get the council members in line.”

The new fiscal year doesn’t begin until July 1, but the city charter says a budget is supposed to be done by the end of the month.

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