Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Council's doing it again

Back in October, we were surprised when Council decided to revisit the newly-instituted trash fee -- because it had previously agreed to institute a trash fee. Councilman DiCicco, who was leading the effort to revisit the fee, responded to a DN editorial on the matter, arguing that the Nutter administration hadn't adequately communicated with council about the fee's implementation after the initial passage. Hence the walkback.

Council's doing it again

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TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

Back in October, we were surprised when Council decided to revisit the newly-instituted trash fee -- because it had previously agreed to institute a trash fee. Councilman DiCicco, who was leading the effort to revisit the fee, responded to a DN editorial on the matter, arguing that the Nutter administration hadn't adequately communicated with council about the fee's implementation after the initial passage. Hence the walkback.

We wonder if the same argument will apply this time, because Council's doing it again. One of the items cut from this year's budget was on-street loose-leaf collection (savings: about $400,000). Council approved the cut. But, as Catherine Lucey reports today, now that the leaves have really begin to fall in earnest, the legislative body is reconsidering. Writes Catherine:

"Councilman Frank Rizzo today plans to introduce a resolution asking Nutter to restore on-street loose-leaf collection throughout the city ... 'There are certain things you can't put a price tag on,' said Rizzo, who said piles of uncollected leaves in the street are messy and dangerous."

As with the trash fee, there are good reasons to dislike the discontinuation of leaf collection: When it rained last Saturday, it was awfully dangerous on the slippery streets of Philadelphia. But this really isn't how legislative deliberation is supposed to work. You're supposed to contemplate consequences and complaints before you make a decision, when the sun is still shining and the days are still long -- not just when the leaves start to turn.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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