Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Clarke walks back BRT comment

City Council President Darrell Clarke on Thursday sought to revise comments he made Wednesday that his 2010 vote to abolish the Board of Revision of Taxes and transfer control of property taxes to the mayor’s administration was a “mistake.”

Clarke walks back BRT comment

City Council President Darrell Clarke on Thursday sought to revise comments he made Wednesday that his 2010 vote to abolish the Board of Revision of Taxes and transfer control of property taxes to the mayor’s administration was a “mistake.”

Clarke said Thursday he regrets that vote because the bill would have put the process for appealling property assessments under the administration. (That provision was struck down in court, so the BRT still controls appeals.) He said he doesn’t regret voting to give the administration control of property assessments, which were widely criticized under the BRT.

“I actually support the assessment process being in the administration,” he said. “In retrospect I should not have voted for the administration to have the appeals process in their jurisdiction also.”

The Daily News recorded Clarke’s comments at Wednesday’s meeting. In explaining why he regrets the vote, he did not mention appeals. He discussed at length issues with the Office of Property Assessment, the administration office that resulted in part from the bill.

“So now the OPA does have the ability to do what it does, and we all asked for that,” Clarke said Wednesday.

“I’m telling you, in retrospect, I made a mistake in voting for that,” he said.

He went on to detail issues with the OPA, then said, “That’s a problem. And what’s done is done. We have to figure out a way to come up with a solution, but we hear you. We’re going to be grilling the OPA. We’re going to get to the bottom of this.”

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Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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