The Inquirer reports this morning that City Controller Alan Butkovitz is casting doubt on the city’s proposed sale of Philadelphia Gas Works to a private company, saying he can’t be sure the city will make a profit off the sale.
Congratulations are in order for Philadelphia magazine gentleman paparazzo HughE Dillon, who was married on May 24th — just a few days after a ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania. Eight city judges and Mayor Nutter married couples on Friday at City Hall.
The very talented folks over at Tara Beth Photography were on hand at City Hall on Friday to take a series of amazingly gorgeous shots from marriage ceremonies of same-sex couples. We’re luck enough to share some of the photos of the happy couples!
Gay Wedding Ceremonies at City Hall
“Mayor Michael Nutter and other city officials reached out to employers asking them to hire one or more teens this summer,” Newsworks reports. “‘The call here is to ask every employer in Philadelphia to hire at least one young person this summer, give a person an opportunity … show them what you do at your job, your office, your business,’ Nutter said. ‘Give them a chance to get some life skills, get some work skills, make a little money this summer.’”
A press release from the Committee of Seventy just hit our inbox:
SEVENTY URGES PUBLIC HEARING ON PGW SALE
Says Council Shouldn’t Wait for Consultant’s Report
PHILADELPHIA – May 19, 2014 – To put the facts on the table about a $1.86 billion deal to sell the Philadelphia Gas Works, the non-partisan Committee of Seventy today urged Philadelphia City Council to hold a public hearing before its summer recess.
According to Seventy’s VP and Policy Director Ellen Mattleman Kaplan, Seventy has not taken an official position on the Nutter administration’s agreement to sell PGW to UIL Holdings Corporation. Expected to generate at least $424 million for the city’s pension fund, the deal must be approved by City Council and by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
“Taxpayers deserve to know the facts of the PGW sale as they exist today. This deal has been on the table since early March and not one Council member will even introduce legislation to get the ball rolling,” Kaplan said. “We certainly understand Council’s interest in waiting for its consultant’s analysis of the sale. But this doesn’t have to hold up a public hearing. If more information comes out in the report, Council can hold a second hearing.”
Kaplan explained that Seventy’s call for a public hearing is prompted by UIL Holdings’ contractual right to walk away without penalty if Council doesn’t approve the deal by July 15. “We hope UIL hangs tight until the issue is resolved one way or the other. Beginning the hearings before Council completes the city’s budget process and leaves for summer recess diminishes the perception that Council may be trying to kill the deal by inaction.”
The City Council last month stalled on introducing the bill authorizing the sale, noting it would set in process a regulatory process that includes state review. Also in April, Philly Mag interviewed a top executive at UIL Holdings —the proposed buyer — to discuss the utility’s future in private hands.
When Bill Green became the School Reform Commission chairman earlier this year, he left an open seat on City Council that will be filled during Tuesday’s primary election. (To be clear: Even though it’s a primary, Philadelphians of all parties are eligible to vote for Green’s replacement.)
The three candidates are Ed Neilson, a Democrat; Matthew Wolfe, a Republican; and N.A. Poe, a Libertarian marijuana activist. It’s assumed that Neilson, the Democrat, will win — but Wolfe has picked up a few endorsements along the way (including the Inquirer’s) and, well, who knows?
There are three questions up for vote in Tuesday’s primary election, but they’ll be awfully difficult to understand if you’re seeing them for the first time when you’re in the voting booth. Here, with some help from our friends at the Committee of Seventy, is each question broken down into plain English.
The Inquirer reports that City Council has introduced a bill to extend a temporary 1-cent sales tax, this time to shore up underfunded schools and the city’s faltering pension system.
In the first year, the bill would devote $120 million to the schools, money the district has been counting on to help close a huge funding gap. Any extra revenue would go to the public-employee pension system, which is about $5 billion underfunded.
But over the next three years, the pension system’s share of the revenue generated by the additional penny in the sales tax — which in 2015 is expected to bring in an extra $137 million – would steadily increase, until the fourth year, when it would be split evenly between the schools and the city.
The plan needs approval from the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania General Assembly.