Monday, December 22, 2014

Nutter Shifts Focus On Pace of BRT Reform To City Council

The road to reform for the city's Board of Revision of Taxes winds through City Council. That was the message Mayor Nutter just shared with a small group of reporters, calling them to a meeting to discuss provisions he considers key for any potential legislation on the issue. Nutter repeatedly dodged questions about when he and/or Council might move on the issue, at one point saying he had been elected "mayor, not monarch."

Nutter Shifts Focus On Pace of BRT Reform To City Council

The road to reform for the city's Board of Revision of Taxes winds through City Council.  That was the message Mayor Nutter just shared with a small group of reporters, calling them to a meeting to discuss provisions he considers key for any potential legislation on the issue.  Nutter repeatedly dodged questions about when he and/or Council might move on the issue, at one point saying he had been elected "mayor, not monarch."

And that may have been the point behind Nutter's sit-down, which came a week after tensions broke into the open on Council about the pace of BRT reform.  Nutter met with Council leaders last Wednesday and emerged with no clear time-line for action.  Those leaders then called in Councilman Bill Green and asked him to hold off on legislation he was thinking of introducing the following day.  That led to frustration among Nutter's best political allies during Council's Thursday session.

Nutter today said he does not know where Council's members are in their discussions on what to do next but hopes a "piece of legislation would come soon."

"I have to be honest with you: This is not the most complicated legislation that any of us are going to see in our lifetime," Nutter said. "I think there are a few ways to do this but there are only a few."

Nutter laid out provisions he wants in the legislation.  The assessment function of the BRT should be part of the mayor's administration, he said.  A new and separate board should be appointed to hear assessment appeals.  Those board members could be appointed by the mayor alone or with Council approval.  Some BRT employees now paid by the Philadelphia School District should be brought onto a unified payroll that requires them to follow the same prohibitions on political activity as other city employees, Nutter added.

About this blog
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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