Mayor Nutter said today that the court ruling to keep 11 libraries open could damage his plans to lease the buildings to private or non-profit operators.
"This really runs the risk of significantly hampering our efforts to get the reuse plans in order," Nutter said, noting that the ruling has "caused confusion with potential funders."
On Monday Nutter announced plans to lease the 11 libraries -- which are slated for closure due to budget cuts -- to private foundations, non-profits or community groups, who would run them as "knowledge centers." But yesterday Court of Common Pleas Judge Idee Fox ruled that Nutter could not close the branches without first getting City Council approval.
Councilman Bill Green has sent Mayor Nutter a letter asking him to get City Council approval before closing 11 library branches. In the letter, Green references an ordinance in the Philadelphia Code which states that city facilities will not be closed, abandoned or allowed to go into disuse without approval from Council.
A group of Philadelphians are threatening to sue Nutter to keep the libraries open, based on that same section of the code. Green is not part of that lawsuit. City Solicitor Shelley Smith said yesterday that the administration holds that the ordinance is invalid.
To read Green's letter click here.
Catherine LuceySounds like Mayor Nutter had a tough time at his final town hall meeting last night in Northwest Philly, where residents questioned closing libraries and suggested the city cut police instead. Check out a full report -- and the video -- here at It's Our City.
Politico.com is running a story today that starts out comparing the mutual predicaments -- popular politicians facing a tanking economy -- of Mayor Nutter and President-elect Barack Obama. You can read it here.
Our favorite line? The advice Nutter offers the incoming commander-in-chief: "Be strong, be serious and keep it real,” said Nutter.
Catherine LuceyThis just in from the press office:
MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER ANNOUNCES MEMBERSHIP OF MAYOR’S CULTURAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
Mayor to host arts and culture town hall meeting today to discuss City’s financial situation
Catherine LuceyWe just got this from the Mayor's Press Office:
MAYOR NUTTER TO ATTEND ARTS AND CULTURE TOWN HALL MEETING TO DISCUSS CITY’S FINANCIAL SITUATION
Catherine LuceySupporters of the Wadsworth Library in Cedarbrook -- one of the 11 libraries slated for closure under Mayor Nutter's budget cuts -- today delivered 1,750 signatures to Nutter, asking him to keep the branch open.
But while Nutter accepted the package outside his City Hall office, he made no such promise.
"We expect that the library will close," Nutter said, promising that there would still be "some level of library type services" in the neighborhood.
Catherine LuceyWHYY's It's Our City blog has a good post up on last night's town hall meeting about the budget in the Parkside section. As usual, library closings were the top concern of residents who turned out to question Mayor Nutter and other top city officials.
You can read the post here.