Archive: February, 2009
The four city budget workshops organized by the Penn Project for Civic Engagement are over, and the results for all are now available online (aggregate results here, session-by-session breakouts available here).
What did the workshops teach us? How much will the administration be guided by what folks at the workshop concluded?
Let's start with the first question. It was clear that the roughly 1,800 residents who attended the workshops are loath to see city services cut any further, so much so that an overwhelming majority of groups were willing to accept tax hikes to avoid further cuts. Beyond that, there was little consensus as to what programs ought to be cut, if indeed the mayor and City Council decide that cuts are necessary (as they almost certainly will). The groups were happy to slash away at the city's vehicle fleet, and anxious to see the Eagles repay the $8 million the city claim the team owes to Philadelphia, but there were few other consensus cuts.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation just gave a healthy $1.1 million grant to the Philadelphia-based Energy Coordinating Agency, which will use the funds to train under-employed workers in "green collar" jobs. The Mayor's Office of Sustainability is a partner in the effort, and they're getting $100,000 to support the effort.
The Inquirer's Jane Von Bergen wrote about green collar opportunities in yesterday's Inquirer.
The press release is below.
For those who may have missed it in the print edition, today's Inquirer had a story on the admittedly dull but important news that the Nutter administration wants to delay implementation of the city's new property assessment method, known as the the Actual Value Initiative. The Board of Revision of Taxes, which sets property values in the city, says it is almost ready to go with the new method, which has been years in the making. Nutter's Finance Director Rob Dubow says BRT (which has still not quite finished work) will finish too late in the budget process to "responsibly" adopt it for this fiscal year.
Click here for Philly.com's politics page.
Council members emerged from their closed door meeting in Verna's office around 3:45 p.m. to announce that they had only been talking about "administrative" matters -- chiefly, whether Council would hold budget hearings out in the neighborhoods, and if so, where.
"I think we can talk about Council process without having the press in the room," Majority Leader Marian B. Tasco said after the meeting. There were at least 11 members in the room.
AFSCME DC 47 president Cathy Scott held a press conference this morning calling for the creation of a new "Revenue Tsar." The text of her prepared remarks follow...
Cathy Scott, President - AFSCME District Council 47
Latrice Bryant returns.
Okay, she never really left her job, with the exception of a few weeks vacation after creating a firestorm in City Council by holding up signs accusing TV reporter Jeff Cole of being a racist. But Latrice Bryant, aide to Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr., returned to a City Council meeting Thursday for the first time since that incident.