By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City Council President Darrell Clarke has decided to cancel budget hearings that were to be held outside of City Hall in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.
Dating back to the council presidency of Anna Verna, Council each year has scheduled a few public hearings on the budget in neighborhoods to give residents who can’t make it to City Hall a chance to sound off. But now the current president, Darrell Clarke, has opted to cancel neighborhood hearings.
“There was no request from any member,” Clarke says.
He says candidate forums leading up to this month’s primary election served that purpose.
“There has been significant conversations and interaction between all of the members of Council and the community,” he says. “There have been more forums than I can ever recall in the history of City Council.”
Clarke says that unlike past years, no district council person even requested a budget hearing in his or her district. He believes that is due to their packed schedules as they seek re-election.
“There have so many forums this year as it relates to organizations,” he says. “Council members have been to pretty much all of the forums. So the interaction this particular year has actually been much broader than the neighborhood budget hearings.”
The budget hearings that are held at City Hall are still continuing. In fact, after the May 19th primary they promise to become volatile as the lawmakers debate Mayor Michael Nutter’s plan to raise property taxes nearly 10% to better fund the Philadelphia School District.