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Philadelphia City Council Votes on AVI, School Funding Will Be Severed

Darrell Clarke (credit: Steve Tawa.)

Darrell Clarke (credit: Steve Tawa.)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council president Darrell Clarke says that when Council votes on the mayor’s budget, it’ll be two votes, not one: on property taxes, and new money for the school district.

Mayor Nutter’s budget calls for a switch to the Actual Value Initiative (“AVI”), a new property tax system involving reassessments of all properties. And Nutter has proposed that the resulting tax rate be set at a point that the School District would receive an additional $94 million (see related story).

But now, Clarke says he will split that into two votes: one on AVI, the other on the school district funding. At this point, he won’t say how this will be done.

“I simply ask members of the press to stay tuned,” he told KYW Newsradio this morning. “That process will be determined during the course of this week.”

And the mayor is fine with Clarke’s plan, according to Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald.

“It’s clearly important work, but we have no preference for how they go about packaging those bills.”

Clarke would not commit to whether splitting the matter into two votes guarantees Council approval.

“That still must be determined by a minimum of nine members of Council,” he said.

But he hopes, in the end, that any budget deal will have broader support:

“It’s always our hope that we don’t do something as important as this with a 9-8 vote.”

And Clarke says some of his colleagues want provisions for accountability attached to any new city funding for the school district.

“This whole issue with respect to accountability is a recurring theme,” Clarke noted.

But McDonald, the mayor’s spokesman, says the administration is concerned that such provisions might make it harder for the district to borrow the additional $200-plus-million it needs to close its deficit.

Another Council hearing on the budget is set for Tuesday, and behind-the-scenes negotiations go on.

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