Archive: April, 2010
The Nutter administration plans to submit legislation to eliminate the Clerk of Quarter Sessions position in the next two weeks, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everetty Gillison said Tuesday.
Current Clerk of Quarter Sessions Vivian T. Miller resigned effective March 31 following intense criticism of both the performance of and the need for the office. On April 1 Mayor Nutter announced that the duties of the office would be transferred to the city's prothonotary, but he did not show his hand at the time about the future of the $117,991-a-year position.
Tuesday afternoon, in budget testimony before Council, Gillison said he hoped to have a bill ready within the next 10 days, would would be in time for the May 6 Council meeting.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court today refused to strike from the May 18 primary ballot a charter change that - if approved by voters - would abolish the Board of Revision of Taxes.
The ruling, which the court issued without comment, means it is almost certain that voters will have the chance to weigh in on the BRT's fate next month.
The BRT's suit contended that the city lacked the authority to completely dismantle the seven-member board. It argues that the state legislature specifically vested assessment appeals powers with the BRT, and required that BRT leaders be appointed by the city's judiciary.
Patrick Kerkstra and Jeff Shields
By a vote of 16-1, City Council this morning cut the salaries of the seven members of the Board of Revision of Taxes, reducing the chair's pay from $75,000 to $50,000 and compensating most other members with a $150 per diem.
Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell was the lone dissenting vote. She has consistently opposed BRT reform out of concern for the agency's patronage employees, but after the Council meeting she said voted against the measure because it was only a "symbolic" gesture and did not address the BRT's long-term issues.
"I want real reform," she said.
Mayor Nutter wasted no time signing a bill approved by City Council this morning reducing the pay of the seven members of the Board of Revision of Taxes. Take a look below at the text of the letter Finance Director Rob Dubow will send to the BRT members.
MAYOR NUTTER SIGNS BILL REDUCING BRT BOARD MEMBERS’ SALARY
Philadelphia, April 22, 2010 – Today, Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed into law Ordinance No. 100212, which reduces the salaries of BRT Board Members. The Mayor instructed Finance Director Rob Dubow to send the Board a letter, the text of which is below, notifying them of the impending change to their income.
The city has secured a $25 million competitive stimulus grant for energy retrofitting buildings. Take a look below for the release from the White House.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2010
When independent groups look for potential budget savings within the City of Philadelphia, they can't help but focus on the city's little-known row offices, obscure patronage-rich departments led by independently elected officials.
But City Council apparently sees no waste whatsoever in these politically influential offices, many of which are led by party heavies.
In budget hearings this morning, council members have scarcely questioned the leaders of these offices. Council members had nothing but praise for Ron Donatucci, a powerful democratic ward leader and the chief of the Register of Wills. He was in and out of the witness chair in less than 20 minutes.
Now back in charge of the Board of Revision of Taxes, Chairwoman Charlesretta Meade told City Council Wednesday that the agency would revisit a freeze on property reassessments announced by the Nutter administration last year.
Meade said the board remained committed to the Actual Value Initiative, a sweeping plan to overhaul the city’s real estate assessment system that would generate new and in many cases radically different property values for every parcel in Philadelphia.
In December, the Nutter administration — which by agreement with the BRT had taken day-to-day control of the agency for a six month period beginning last fall — proclaimed the property data that AVI relies on to be “garbage.”
Moving as briskly as parliamentary rules permit, a City Council committee gave its approval to an ordinance Thursday morning that would eventually slash the pay of members of the Board of Revision of Taxes, but not quite in the manner Mayor Nutter had called for.
A full Council vote is scheduled for next Thursday.
The mayor had asked council to cut the salaries of the seven BRT members from $70,000-$75,000 a year to $18,700, which appears to be the minimum allowed by state law. Instead, council is on track to reduce the salary of the BRT chair from $75,000 to $50,000, and the BRT secretary's pay from $72,000 to $45,000.