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Nutter Has New $70M Budget Problem Thanks To New Police Contract

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Mayor Nutter says he'll do his best to avoid cuts to city services, as he attempts to close a new $70 million dollar deficit caused by a new contract award for police officers.

Police were awarded pay raises over three years of 3 percent, 3.25 percent and 3.25 percent, which will cost taxpayers millions over the term of the deal.

Mayor Nutter's long-range budget, called the Five Year Plan, had set aside money for the contract, but not enough and now the mayor must come up with savings of $70 million.

The mayor says after years of service cuts, he is hoping to avoid more reductions.

"Our goal -- certainly after spending a lot of time in the tail of end of '08, all of '09 and all of '10 and part of '11, making cuts and doing any number of different things, we will do everything we possibly can to avoid service impacts on the citizens of this city. They have endured a lot. We've asked a lot."

If there are no reductions in service, the budget gap could be solved through increases in taxes or fees. But the $70 million cost of the contract can be spread over five years, so a more likely scenario is that the mayor's budget experts would simply find smaller savings projections in each of those year.

Nutter has twenty days to present his revised Five Year Plan to PICA, the state agency that oversees the city's finances.

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