If the city is not able to submit a plan that is eventually approved by PICA – the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority – it risks losing its state funding.
The budget season is over at Philadelphia City Hall. City Council has passed a $3.6 billion budget, ending a tumultuous three-month stretch during which tough decisions were made on how to make ends meet.
Working late into the evening Thursday, City Council members reluctantly gave initial approval to an overhaul of Philadelphia’s property tax system.
City Council president Darrell Clarke says Council will hold two separate votes: one on the mayor’s proposed property tax overhaul, the other on the mayor’s proposed increase in School District funding.
It’s clear that this year, the legal deadline won’t be met.
The mayor’s budget hinges on state approval of a homestead exemption, and separately, gaining the ability to adjust the split of property taxes between the city and the school district.
“Being the optimist that I am, I believe we can get this done on time,” says Philadelphia City Council president Darrell Clarke.
City controller Alan Butkovitz says a review of ambulance billings by the city for 2011 shows it only collected $34 million of the $82.5 million it billed — about 42 percent.
“You need to follow and make sure these funds are not delegated for anything other than to stop these brownouts, to support our firemen,” said Diane Neary, whose husband Robert was killed in a warehouse fire last month in Kensington.
District Attorney Seth Williams pointed to a bar chart behind him, as he testified in council chambers, showing how the 22 largest counties in America fund their prosecutors.
The new overseer of Philadelphia elections went before City Council with hat in hand asking for more money to pay the people who man the polls.
“The amount of moving around of dollars that we can do is minimal,” said Arthur Evans, the city’s commissioner of Behavioral Health, “but we will do the best that we can to try to mitigate those kinds of catastrophic cuts.”
With the deaths of two firefighters on their minds, Philadelphia City Council memberson Wednesday grilled the fire commissioner about the controversial policy of temporarily closing fire stations — a tactic known as “brownouts.”
Councilman-at-large Jim Kenney hired a Philadelphia-based company called Chatterblast. The cost was $28,000, paid for by taxpayers.
The ruling could cost the city and the school district millions of dollars.