Sunday, August 30, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 3:29 PM
City Councilman Ed Neilson may resign to run again for the state House. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)

Ed Neilson, a member of City Council for 10 months, appears ready to resign this week so he can run in his third special election in four years.

Democratic ward leaders in Northeast Philadelphia unanimously voted Tuesday evening for Neilson as their party's candidate in an Aug. 11 special election to fill the vacant 174th District state House seat, according to Neilson spokesman Frank Keel.

Neilson may resign from his at-large Council seat on Friday, Keel said.  Council's summer break starts that day.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 7:18 PM
Matt Stanski, the district’s chief financial officer, said the district would like to see BRT go through the appeals quicker. (MICHAEL BRYANT/Staff Photographer)

It's looking like the city will not get its estimated $543 million in real estate tax revenue for this year, after all. The school district will also fall short on its estimated $679 million real estate tax projection.

The city’s fiscal watchdog, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, will be releasing its quarterly financial report Wednesday that shows a drop in projected real estate tax revenues — $14.8 million for the city and $20 million for the School District.

The reason: The Board Revision of Taxes is still going through the 25,000 appeals from 2014. And, while a property owner is in the appeal pipeline, that owner gets to pay the old tax bill without any fees or penalties.

POSTED: Thursday, June 11, 2015, 3:02 PM

Seven political committees will each be paying $1,500 in fines for not filing their most recent campaign finance reports on time, the city’s Board of Ethics announced Thursday. Those committees are:

1. Anna Verna Committee
2. Bob Brady for Congress
3. Friends of Andy Toy
4. iHeart Media, Inc. – Clear Channel Outdoor PAC
5. ILA Local 1291 PAC
6. Phila AFL CIO PAC 
7. Society Hill Towers PAC

Except for iHeart Media, which is based in San Francisco, the other committees are all based in Philadelphia. Any PACs that donated money to candidates for city offices were supposed to file their Cycle 2 reports (which runs from Jan. 1 to May 4) on May 8. Failure do so would result in a penalty of $250 for each day the report is late.

POSTED: Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 4:01 PM

Philadelphia could be left behind in the dust when it comes to pension reform.

Legislators in Harrisburg are considering two bills that would require municipalities to enroll new employees in a new type of pension plan, similar to a 401(K). Both bills, as currently written, exclude Philadelphia, which has a $5.7 billion pension fund deficit.

The sponsors of the bill -- state Reps. Keith J. Greiner (R-Lancaster) and Seth Grove (R-York) on the House side and by state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. (R-Blair) on the Senate side – say the two bills would address rising pension costs and deficits across the state. The pension liability among all the municipalities is tallied at nearly $8 billion, of which $5.7 billion is just from Philadelphia.

POSTED: Friday, June 5, 2015, 3:03 PM
Mayor Nutter delivers his budget address with City Council President Darrell L. Clarke in the background. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)

One of the biggest differences between Mayor Nutter’s school funding plan and City Council’s plan is who would control the money.

As my colleague, Julia Terruso reported in today’s Inquirer, City Council offered a plan Thursday to increase three different taxes - property tax, parking and Use & Occupancy – for an estimated revenue total of $70 million. (The school district asked the city for $103 million).

Nutter previously proposed increasing property taxes by 9.3 percent for a total new revenue of $105 million.

POSTED: Friday, June 5, 2015, 11:23 AM

It looks like a former top transportation staffer is running for City Council as an Independent.

Andrew Stober, who recently stepped down as Chief of Staff in the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, is eyeing the office, PlanPhilly first reported. He’s made mention on Twitter of the run with nods to tweets about his candidacy and the pretty obvious hashtag #Stober2015.

Stober worked in the Philadelphia office for four years. Before that he had a post at the Colorado Department of Transportation.

POSTED: Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 11:09 AM
The Philadelphia Art Commission unanimously approved Wednesday the design for the June 5th Memorial at 22nd and Market just two days before the two-year anniversary of the fatal building collapse.

The Philadelphia Art Commission unanimously approved Wednesday the design for the June 5th Memorial at 22nd and Market just two days before the two-year anniversary of the fatal building collapse.

The memorial, designed by Wayne-based artist Barbara Fox, will feature three tall granite stones with one-cubic foot windows representing each of the victims.

Anne Bryan, Mary Rosaline Conteh, Borbor Davis, Kimberly Finnegan, Juanita Harmon, and Mary Simpson were killed on June 5, 2013 when a four-story brick wall of a building undergoing demolition collapsed onto an adjacent Salvation Army store. Fourteen people also were injured in the collapse.

POSTED: Thursday, May 28, 2015, 4:56 PM
Six people were killed and several were injured on June 5, 2013, when a wall collapsed onto the Salvation Army Thrift Store. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

As the two-year anniversary of the building collapse at 22nd and Market approaches, attorneys for the victims are still working on interviewing everyone involved in the civil case.

On Tuesday, Common Pleas Court Judge Mark Bernstein issued an order forcing Joel Oshtry, the attorney for STB Investments Corp, which owns the properties on 2100 of Market Street that were set to be demolished, to comply with a deposition request.

Six people were killed and several were injured on June 5, 2013 when a wall collapsed onto the Salvation Army Thrift Store. The wall that fell was from the adjacent building, owned by STB Investments, that was in the middle of what has been described as an unsafe and dangerous demolition. Both civil and criminal cases are pending in court.

About this blog

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Hepp, Tricia Nadolny, Julia Terruso, and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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