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Controller Butkovitz: City can cut up to $400 million from projected deficit

City Controller Alan Butkovitz released a report yesterday claiming that with certain efficiencies and more rigorous collection of revenue, the city could cut nearly half of the projected 5-year deficit. Nutter administration officials call the Controller's timing a publicity stunt and argue that many of his suggestions are already in play.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz attracted a lot of attention in today's news with the release of a report yesterday in which he claimed that a combination of revenue collection and other efficiencies could shave up to $400 million from the city's projected billion dollar deficit.

From the Daily News:

Butkovitz's suggestions included:
* Pursue more vigorously delinquent water customers, for a one-time savings of $117 million.
* Process tax checks more quickly within the Revenue Department to realize interest for an annual savings of $1 million.
* Use a paperless paycheck system for a recurring benefit of $400,000.
* Increase ambulance reimbursement rates and improve Fire Department billing for a recurring benefit of $46 million.

The administration, however, says that many of these suggestions are already under consideration or would not necessarily result in the savings/earnings that Butkovitz claims:

Finance Director Rob Dubow said that as all the recommendations came from old audits, the administration has reviewed them and is already doing many of the things suggested.
Dubow said that there is a new billing system at the Water Department, the Revenue Department has hired additional temporary staff and bought new equipment to process tax checks more rapidly and that more than 70 percent of city employees are paid through direct deposit.

The Inquirer and WHYY's It's Our City project also reported on the Controller's announcement.