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Philadelphia City Council Reduces Fee For Vacant Lot Cleanup

Vacant lot on Ella St. near E Westmoreland St.

Vacant lot on Ella St. near E Westmoreland St.

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – City Council’s vote last year to raise a particular fee from $30 to $750 prompted a flood of outrage and now has prompted a council committee to roll it back about halfway.

The city charges a fee to owners of vacant lots for the cleanup of the lots. Council decided last year to raise it considerably, and those bills went out for the first time last month. Darrell Zaslow of the Homeowners Association of Philadelphia testified Wednesday that the hike went too far:

“Council proceeded to raise the fee to what was $30 to $750, an increase if my math is correct of 2,500 percent.”

So the committee decided to roll back the fee to $300, and to exempt private lots that are used for gardens. The city says the higher fee is needed to cover the labor costs of the lot cleanup.

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio