Council survives community budget hearing just fine

What with the recent publicity over the DROP program and their use of city-issued cars, one might have expected City Council to take a major beating when it ventured outside City Hall for a community budget hearing at Temple University last night.

That didn't happen.

There were a few sharply worded questions, but only one interrogator directly challenged Council on their own perks. Most of those who stepped to the microphone (out of a crowd of about 200) used the opportunity to urge council to preserve certain programs (CLIP, for instance) or to ask that the proposed property tax hikes be scaled back or in some way ameliorated for low-income residents.

Indeed, if anything the hearing just gave council some ammunition for its battle against Mayor Nutter over which tax to raise. Nutter wants to go after real estate and sales taxes, while Council seems to prefer the wage tax.

The meeting also lacked much in the way of sharp confrontation between Council and the mayor's staffers, which is something we've seen plenty of at the budget hearings that have taken place so far inside City Hall. Council asked a few questions of Nutter's Chief of Staff Clay Armbrister, but for the most part they let city residents do the talking.

The next community council hearing is scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. on April 23 at the Mount Airy Church of God, 6401 Ogontz Ave.

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