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Archive: October, 2008

POSTED: Monday, October 27, 2008, 9:04 AM

How can we best tackle the budget crisis? Use this post to give us your two cents.
Ben Waxman @ 9:04 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, October 27, 2008, 9:00 AM

World Series boosting ridership

Link: City urges Phils fans to use SEPTA [DN]

Rina Cutler, the city's deputy mayor for transportation, was blunt: "If you are showing up, do not drive."

Ben Waxman @ 9:00 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Saturday, October 25, 2008, 12:43 PM
On Friday, I posted about the possibility of budget cuts for the recreation department. The city is facing a budget hole of at least $850 million over the next five years. Several readers responded with interesting comments. I reprinted some of them below.

First, epic commenter CleanupPhilly says we should think about selling some rec centers:

The city doesn't have to be all things to all people when there are private owners who are ready and able to step up and buy these assets to use for the exact same purpose. Another example -- the Marian Anderson Rec Center. Here's a place that duplicates services offered elsewhere, that a private owner would buy and offer. The building is in poor condition, the fence needs painting, the management is very unaccountable about how the money it gets is spent, and the community gets relatively low levels of use per dollar spent. If the facilities were sold to a private gym, you'd have better management, better facilities, and more use per dollar by more people in the neighborhood.

Ben Waxman @ 12:43 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Friday, October 24, 2008, 3:50 PM

How can we best tackle the budget crisis? Use this post to give us your two cents. 

Ben Waxman @ 3:50 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Friday, October 24, 2008, 12:46 PM
Mayor Michael Nutter has been extremely tight-lipped about how he'll deal with the $850 million hole in the city budget. Nutter has pledged no leaks from his administration and thus far information has been hard to come by. However, a couple of different reports seem to suggest that the Recreation Department, which oversees dozens of city-run recreation centers and programs, is likely to be on the chopping block.

First, there was a blog post on Heard in the Hall that the Recreation Department is drawing up a list of recreation centers and playgrounds for possible closure. The same blog post seemed to imply that staff positions are also being cut. Now, we have a comment from an "It's Our Money" reader and city employee that seems to back up those reports.

Here it is:

Ben Waxman @ 12:46 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Friday, October 24, 2008, 12:05 PM
     

Link
: Budget confab bars reporters

Mayor Nutter, who ran for office promising a more open and transparent government, yesterday barred reporters from budget talks he held with City Council.

Nutter presented reporters with an opinion written by City Solicitor Shelley Smith, which advised him that he could hold a private session as long as the group was not "deliberating or voting on agency business."

The state Sunshine Act says that official action or deliberation by a government agency must take place in an open meeting if a quorum of the agency's members attends. Nine members of Council equal a quorum. More than nine members were present yesterday.

Ben Waxman @ 12:05 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Friday, October 24, 2008, 10:55 AM
On Wednesday, "It's Our Money" printed dualing opinions from Stan Shapiro and Brett Mandel about the need to slow business tax cuts given the budget crisis. Doron Taussig made a sharp observation about the debate over at Clog, the Philadelphia Citypaper blog:

One interesting question is what happens to Nutter's commitment to business tax cuts. It's Our Money went ahead and asked two of the, erm, loudest voices on this issue in the city, Brett Mandel and Stan Shapiro, what they thought. Both give characteristically articulate answers, but I've gotta say that what I'm struck by is the fact that, with the exception of a brief reference on Shapiro's part to the current financial meltdown and references by both to recent comments made by Comcast exec David L. Cohen, these answers really could have been given a year ago, two years ago, and very few words would be altered. Can it really be that both sides see the issue the exact same way after all this?

What do you think? Does the new budget reality force Philadelphia to think about taxes in a different way?


Ben Waxman @ 10:55 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, October 23, 2008, 11:58 AM

The price of a hotel room is going up

A City Council committee yesterday approved a 1.2 percentage-point increase in the city's hotel-room tax, with nearly half of the new revenue - or about $2.3 million a year - helping to pay for higher-than-anticipated costs to expand the Convention Center.

Ben Waxman @ 11:58 AM  Permalink | 0
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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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