Archive: October, 2009
A Council committee votes to get rid of the $500 trash fee for small businesses.
John Baer wonders if Sen. Arlen Specter will need more than the support of Magic Johnson to hang on to his seat.
Eighth-graders ponder their high school options.
We just got a press release from City Controller Alan Butkovitz, announcing that tomorrow he plans to release the long-awaited results of an audit into the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI).
NTI was Mayor Street's signature program to revitalize city neighborhoods by knocking down blighted buildings, cleaning neighborhoods and packaging property for development. Street borrowed $300 million in bond money for the project, which he unveiled in 2001.
Butkovitz's office has been conducting an audit on whether NTI spent their bond funds in accordance with Internal Revenue Service guidelines. Plans for another audit on the program's spending habits were made earlier this year by the Redevelopment Authority, although that process has been put on hold.
City Council's Committee on Streets and Services just pushed passed Mayor Nutter's request to hold off on legislation to eliminate a new $500 fee for small businesses that have their trash picked up by the Department of Streets. In a hearing this afternoon, it became clear that Council members are frustrated that Nutter's administration did not work with them on the issue over the summer. The fee, which Council unanimously approved on May 21, is ready to be implemented and is expected to bring in $7 million from 15,000 small businesses.
The committee approved the legislation killing the fee, despite testimony from Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson that it was "essential to address the city's unprecedented budget crisis." Councilman Frank DiCicco, who introduced the bill to repeal the fee, repeatedly spoke about how "unfortunate" it was that Tolson's department didn't address his concerns over the summer.
Councilman Bill Green pressed Tolson, asking if she had been "instructed not to work with Councilman DiCicco." Tolson said she was busy with the city budget during the summer but ultimately held off Green by saying: "I think you're asking me for an answer that I don't have to give."
Chris Brennan & Catherine Lucey
City Council's Committee on Streets and Services is set to consider legislation at 2 p.m. this afternoon that would repeal a $500 fee the city is about to start charging small businesses for trash pick-up. That concerns Mayor Nutter, who said he spoke last week with Councilman Frank DiCicco -- who introduced the legislation on Sept. 17 -- and expects to have more conversation with Council on the issue.
Nutter stressed that the city is counting on the $7 million per year the new fee would bring in from 15,000 small businesses. Nutter wasn’t sure how close the Department of Streets was to implementing the fee, which was unanimously approved by Council in May.
“It’s revenue we’ve counted on in our budget and five-year plan," Nutter said of the fee. "It has serious financial implications.”
Local homeless outreach organization Project HOME is $2,000 richer today, thanks to the Phillies victory over the Colorado Rockies in the National League Division Series last night.
Mayor Nutter and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper decided to pass on the traditional food bets -- like cheesesteaks or pretzels -- made by mayors of competing sports teams. Instead, they agreed that the winning city in the series would get $2,000 and the losing city $500, to go to homeless programs.
"It's a very important issue in Philadelphia for me and I know it is for Mayor Hickenlooper out in Denver," Nutter said today.
City Council's Committee on Streets and Services will consider legislation today to help a new museum with security and another bill to drop a $500 annual fee for businesses that have their trash picked up by the city.
The Pew Charitable Trusts releases a report suggesting that Philadelphia is not ready to stand up and be counted in the 2010 Census.
A construction lift topples in Rittenhouse Square, killing its operator and injuring three others.
Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is using the Philadelphia Phillies National League Divisional Series to promote gogreen98.com, a new campaign to push environmentally-friendly business. Local 98 business manager John Dougherty appears in television commercials, wearing a Phillies hat and jacket, standing on the team's home field surrounded by an empty stadium.
"Our union hits home runs every day in the solar industry," Dougherty says while tossing up a baseball and whacking it with a bat. You can see the commercial here. PhillyClout thinks the campaign is an interesting idea but Dougherty's home run in the commercial looks more like a pop-up to second base.
Here's a press release we just got from Pew Charitable Trust:
PEW REPORT EXAMINES CENSUS PREPARATIONS IN PHILADELPHIA
AND OTHER MAJOR CITIES