AFTER SOME uncertainty, the city's fiscal watchdog has approved Mayor Nutter's five-year financial plan.

The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority OK'd the plan, 4-1, Wednesday. It delayed a vote last month after receiving more information on how Nutter would pay for a potentially costly contract-arbitration award for the city's firefighters.

Board president Sam Katz had raised questions about the city's declaration that if an appeal failed, it would pay for the award - which would add $200 million in costs to the five-year plan - through service cuts. But Katz said Wednesday that after discussions with the administration and his own review of the plan, he was comfortable that the city had more options than just cuts.

The nay vote came from Sam Hopkins, a financial adviser who was appointed to the board by the Democratic leader of the state Senate. Hopkins said he thought that the plan would "haunt us all for many years," but declined to elaborate on his concerns.