Somerton talks about Community Day, CSX track plans and candidate’s views

The Somer­ton Civic As­so­ci­ation dis­cussed sev­er­al ad­di­tion­al neigh­bor­hood is­sues dur­ing its monthly meet­ing on Dec. 11.

SCA pres­id­ent Dolores Bar­bieri asked for vo­lun­teers to help or­gan­ize the third an­nu­al Somer­ton Com­munity Day next fall. The second an­nu­al event was held in Oc­to­ber at Danny Boyle Play­ground and at­trac­ted dozens of fam­il­ies, busi­nesses, polit­ic­al of­fi­cials and com­munity-based or­gan­iz­a­tions.

Un­for­tu­nately, Bar­bieri said, fund­ing for the event is be­com­ing more scarce as state grant money is no longer read­ily avail­able. The SCA will have to do more fund-rais­ing on its own.

• Dan Lod­ise, chief of staff for state Rep. Brendan Boyle, re­por­ted that sev­er­al homeown­ers in the area of Southamp­ton and Lon­don roads re­ceived no­tices via U.S. Postal Ser­vice from CSX alert­ing them that the rail­road plans to ren­ov­ate its tracks. The modi­fic­a­tions will ac­com­mod­ate “double-deck­er” freight trains, Lod­ise said. Sev­er­al dozen res­id­en­tial prop­er­ties share bound­ar­ies with CSX prop­erty. No timetable has been an­nounced.

• Brett Man­del, a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate for city con­trol­ler next year, said he hopes to use the of­fice to re­verse the city’s trend of rising taxes and re­duced pub­lic ser­vices. Man­del was dir­ect­or of fin­ance and policy ana­lys­is for then-Con­trol­ler Jonath­an Saidel. After leav­ing the con­trol­ler’s of­fice, Man­del foun­ded and ran Phil­adelphia For­ward, a budget, tax and eth­ics re­form ad­vocacy or­gan­iz­a­tion.

In 2003, Man­del — who grew up in Rhawn­hurst — served on the city’s ad hoc Tax Re­form Com­mis­sion, which re­com­men­ded re­du­cing the city wage tax, phas­ing out the city’s busi­ness tax and re­form­ing the city’s prop­erty tax sys­tem to make it more uni­form and un­der­stand­able to tax­pay­ers.

Since then, the city has seen re­duc­tions in the wage and busi­ness taxes, he said, and is mov­ing to­ward uni­form prop­erty taxes in the form of May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter’s Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive. ••

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