Council, Mayor Agree On Rules To Make Philly Developer-Friendly

A City Council committee on Friday moved forward a bill that would make Philadelphia more developer-friendly, and another to force earlier disclosure of money spent by super PACs during elections.

The development bill progressed after months of wrangling. If approved by Council and later by voters, it would create a cabinet-level department to take over functions now handled by a host of bodies that include the Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Housing Authority, Art Commission, and Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Council President Darrell L. Clarke, who introduced the legislation in September, said the new Department of Planning and Development would create efficiencies. During Friday’s hearing, he called the long revision process well worth it.

“It gave us an opportunity to not only come up with what I believe is personally a pretty good conclusion, but it gave us the ability to understand that this is going to be a working document,” he said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20150530_Council__mayor_agree_on_rules_to_make_Philly_developer-friendly.html#AETALoko1t6BboTZ.99

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Nanticoke Selects A New City Manager

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NANTICOKE, PA — Jay Zupa on Wednesday night became Nanticoke’s new city manager by appointment of Mayor Richard Wiaterowski approved by City Council at an annual salary of $55,000.

He will take over for acting City Manager Donna Wall. The previous city manager was Pamela Heard, who reportedly was paid more than $68,000 a year.

As per home rule charter, Zupa will have one year to become a resident of the city.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1238662/Nanticoke-selects-a-new-city-manager

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Philly Fires 13 Part-Timers For Double-Dipping

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department has fired or accepted resignations from 13 part-time workers after an investigation found that they had violated rules against double-dipping in public employment.

Ten were schoolteachers, two were U.S. Postal Service employees and one worked for the state Attorney General’s Office. All 13 lost their part-time gigs with the city as assistant recreation-center leaders, but may keep their full-time jobs.

None of the fired workers appear to be accused of holding “no-show” positions or failing to fulfill their responsibilities in both jobs.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/city/20140103_City_fires_13_part-timers_for_double-dipping.html#KUefjX46dMcM2GtA.99

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Scranton Mayor Vetoes Council’s Revisions To His Budget

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Chris Doherty on Friday vetoed city council’s revisions to his proposed $130.2 million budget.

Council will hold a special meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m. to vote on whether to override or sustain the veto, council President Janet Evans said.

A split council on Thursday raised and lowered some salaries and added two positions in the mayor’s budget. The amendments did not change the budget total or the 57 percent tax increase and 69 percent trash collection fee hike.

Council voted 3-2 on many of the amendments in a split that had Councilmen Bob McGoff, Pat Rogan and Jack Loscombe, who are all returning to council in 2014, forming a bloc to pass the amendments, and Council President Janet Evans and Councilman Frank Joyce, who are departing council, dissenting.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-mayor-vetoes-council-s-revisions-to-his-budget-1.1601207

Luzerne County Officials Take Another Look At Gnat Problem

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Luzerne County administration is rethinking plans to cancel participation in a state bug spraying program, sources say.

County management eliminated $75,000 from the 2013 budget for blackfly spraying because the state did not supply documentation showing the program has proven results.  The administration had planned to conduct spraying in-house if problems surfaced.

However, some County Council members and citizens expressed concern about pulling out of the program.

Prior commissioners considered a similar spraying cancellation on the advice of an outside financial recovery consultant in 2010, but they reversed their decision after the state warned the Susquehanna River generates “tremendous numbers of adult gnats that will adversely impact outdoor recreation activities throughout the county.”

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/423374/Officials-take-another-look-at-gnat-problem

Scranton City Council Targets Parking Garages, Meters

The beleaguered Scranton Parking Authority may have its five parking garages under outside management as soon as today, Scranton City Council announced Thursday.

Meanwhile, council also introduced a proposed ordinance Thursday to terminate on Oct. 8 the city’s parking-meter cooperation agreement with SPA, under which SPA receives 10 percent of meter revenues.

Both actions – one dealing with parking garages and the other dealing with meters – would remove all control of SPA’s two revenue streams from the SPA’s board, which is appointed by Mayor Chris Doherty, according to council President Janet Evans and council solicitor Boyd Hughes.

Regarding outside management, the SPA’s new court-appointed receiver, former Lackawanna County Commissioner Mike Washo, is expected to hire a firm called Central Parking, Mr. Hughes said during council’s meeting. He said Central Parking is the second-largest parking management company in the nation.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-council-targets-parking-garages-meters-1.1369583

Mount Penn Borough and Lower Alsace Township Agree To Merger Study

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After much discussion and two joint meetings, Mount Penn Borough Council and the Lower Alsace supervisors agreed Monday to move forward with a study of the pros and cons of merging or consolidating the municipalities.

Council then voted to approve a $22,500 contract with the Pennsylvania Economy League for the study. Lower Alsace had approved the contract in May after the first joint municipality meeting, contingent on Mount Penn’s involvement.

Councilman Thomas Smith said the study would provide the information needed to help supervisors and council decide whether merging or consolidating would be beneficial to both municipalities and their residents.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=399499