New Bill Targets Removing Lead from School Water
Councilmember Helen Gym is proposing a bill that would require all Philadelphia public schools to install modern water filters wherever school water can be tapped by 2025. The push comes after reports emerged that some schools have water with levels of lead far higher than the legal limit.
Gilmore Richardson Moves to Require Regular Reports on Unclaimed Property
After reports emerged that Pennsylvania has nearly $4 billion in unclaimed property, Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson is authoring legislation that would require the city’s Director of Finance to submit a report of all unclaimed property in the city.
City Funds Are Holding Up, But Budget Officials Say Long-Term Fiscal Health Uncertain
City Budget Director Marissa Waxman said the city’s finances are doing well, but cautioned that long-term fiscal health will be difficult to predict due to a high number of people expecting to request tax refunds due to work from home policies still in effect. The budget office also said that the federal coronavirus aid is greatly supplementing tax revenue.
Bill Would Prevent City from Keeping Social Security Payments Intended for Foster Children
Councilmember Gym plans on introducing legislation that would require the city to save the money from Social Security benefits for children in foster care. Last year, the Inquirer reported that the city had been putting money in the general fund from the Social Security benefits of children in foster care.
Streets Department Officials Searching for Healthier Ways to Salt Streets
As the winter weather appears to subside, Philadelphia Streets Department officials are searching for ways to lessen the environmental and health impacts of salting streets, which negatively affect aquatic wildlife and the city’s drinking water. One proposal is to mix a special type of beet juice with the current brining solution to decrease ice buildup, though officials say this solution is too expensive.
West Philadelphia Zoning Bill Passes
City Council approved a new affordable housing overlay district for parts of West Philadelphia, a push led by Councilmember Jamie Gauthier. The focus on affordable housing stems from a citywide decrease in the amount of affordable housing as well as the planned closure of the University City Townhomes, a major affordable housing site in the area. The bill will require new construction projects to have at least 20 percent affordable housing.
Vying for Federal Money, Montgomery, Chester, and Berks Counties Seek Support for New Rail Line
Officials from three Philadelphia suburban counties said they will work together to assess the feasibility of a rail line connecting Reading to Philadelphia, which they say will give county residents new access to rail transit. A feasibility study will be conducted ahead of a proposal for federal funding to make the line a reality.
Philadelphia City Council holds several hearings throughout the legislative calendar. You can watch the hearings here.
On Monday, March 21, at 9:30 a.m., the Joint Committees on Public Safety, Labor and Civil Service & Fiscal Stability and Intergovernmental Cooperation will hold a hearing to discuss current challenges within the Philadelphia Police Department.