Jenny DeHuff & Chris Brennan
City Council President Darrell Clarke announced today there will be a special election to fill a vacant at-large Council seat, and he opened the invitation to all parties interested. This "one-step" election will be held on May 20, the date of the primary election.
U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the city's Democratic Party chairman, has been working on a special electoin deal to settle what could turn into a nasty primary election battle in Northeast Philly. That deal would have the Democratic ward leaders select for the special election state Rep. Ed Neilson, now in the second year of his first term in the 169th District.
That district was moved to York County in a state redistricting plan in 2012, leaving Neilson in the new district of state Rep. John Sabatina Jr., who is now seeking his fifth term. Neilson worked for Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Sabatina is the son of a longtime Northeast Philly ward leader.
State Rep. J.P. Miranda is "absolutely" running for a second term, according to his criminal defense attorney, A. Charles Peruto Jr.
(We reported that Saturday but Philly.com technical difficulties made the story difficult to read online over the weekend.)
Peruto spoke Friday about Miranda's political intentions after a Municipal Court judge held for trial three felonies filed on Jan. 27 against the rookie legislator and his sister. A Philadelphia grand jury accused them of using a "ghost employee" to funnel state payroll money to her after Miranda was told he could not hire his sister for his district office.
Sean Collins Walsh
Mayor Nutter today announced his choice of the Connecticut company UIL Holdings to buy the Philadelphia Gas Works.
UIL's $1.86 billion bid was the highest among all finalists, Nutter said, and its pledges for maintaining the local workforce also topped the field. In addition, the company committed to protecting current employees' retirement benefits, to investing in infrastructure and to meeting requirements for workforce diversity.
"I've only come to know the leadership team at UIL for the past week or so, but looking at their record and the communities they serve and spending time with the community, I believe that UIL will be a great corporate citizen," Nutter said of selecting UIL, which was first reported by the Daily News last week.
Sean Collins Walsh
Despite hopes that a breakthrough in their five-year impasse was possible, representatives from Mayor Nutter’s administration and the city’s largest union met at the bargaining table for less than 10 minutes yesterday and both sides reported no progress.
In the beginning of the afternoon, the sides met at the Sheraton on Vine and 17th for about two minutes before breaking up to caucus separately. Two and a half hours later, they briefly reconvened and called it a day.
“We just don't see eye to eye," said Pete Matthews, president of blue-collar AFSCME District Council 33. "Look. Of course, there's things that we just have to talk about, and I don't know how we're going to get there. We're trying, but I don't know. I don't know how we're going to get there. I really don't."
Defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr. today accused District Attorney Seth Williams of investigating state Rep. J.P. Miranda because they "were both dating the same girl at the same time."
A spokeswoman for Williams later called that claim false and ludicrous.
Peruto spoke after a preliminary hearing, in which Municipal Court Judge David Shuter held for trial three felonies filed on Jan. 27 against Miranda and his sister, Michelle Wilson. They are accused of using a "ghost employee" to funnel state payroll money to Wilson after Miranda was told he could not hire his sister to serve on his staff.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz says tax revenues for the current fiscal year are well below projections, according to a press release issued by his office this morning.
From July 1, 2013 through Jan. 31, 2014, general fund tax revenues totaled $1.19 billion*. The city’s projected tax revenue for the same seven-month period was expected to be more than $1.20 billion, according to the controller’s latest monthly economic report.
Butkovoitz points to the following that make-up the lower dividends – wages and earnings and net profits tax are reportedly down $7.5 million; real estate taxes are down $5.4 million; realty transfer taxes are down $2.2 million; and sales taxes are down $2.4 million. Business Income and Receipts taxes, however, turned up $1 million above projections.
Sean Collins Walsh
From today's Daily News:
Mayor Nutter's administration has selected UIL Holdings Corp. as the winning bidder for the sale of Philadelphia Gas Works, according to a letter from a lawyer representing a rival bidder that was obtained by the Daily News.
UIL, of New Haven, Conn., is the parent company of United Illuminating Co., Southern Connecticut Gas Co., Connecticut Natural Gas Corp. and Berkshire Gas Co., according to its website.
Sean Collins Walsh
Despite higher-than-expected investment returns, the city's pension fund remains less than half-funded, an actuary told the city today.
In July, the end of the last fiscal year, the pension system had enough money to cover 48.1 percent of its liabilities - the same ratio as last year - Kenneth Kent, of the actuarial firm Cheiron, said at a meeting of the city Board of Pensions and Retirement.
But later in the meeting, the board voted to lower its expected rate of investment returns, which will have the effect of increasing the unfunded liability. City Finance Director Rob Dubow said the new liability ratio hasn't been calculated yet. (To learn more about why the assumption rate is important, read this story.)