City controller talks taxes at Take Back meeting

The Take Back Your Neigh­bor­hood Civic As­so­ci­ation ob­served a mo­ment of si­lence for the shoot­ing vic­tims in New­town, Conn., be­fore wel­com­ing com­ments from a po­lice of­fi­cial, the city con­trol­ler, a state rep­res­ent­at­ive and a two-time City Coun­cil can­did­ate who spe­cial­izes in eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment.

City Con­trol­ler Alan Butkovitz has been a crit­ic of the city’s Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive for six years. The policy will fi­nally be im­ple­men­ted for the 2014 fisc­al year.

At the civic as­so­ci­ation’s Decem­ber meet­ing, Butkovitz urged every­one in at­tend­ance to “be all over City Coun­cil” as the 17-mem­ber body de­bates a mil­lage rate, which will de­term­ine an­nu­al prop­erty taxes. He wants the rate to be no high­er than 1.2 per­cent.

“The homeown­ers are the heart and soul of the city,” he said.

Lt. Thomas Ma­cart­ney over­sees the 2nd Po­lice Dis­trict’s Po­lice Ser­vice Area 1, which in­cludes the Castor Gar­dens area covered by the civic as­so­ci­ation. He re­por­ted a high num­ber of cell phone rob­ber­ies.

Ma­cart­ney also ad­dressed sev­er­al re­cent re­ports of people pos­ing as Wa­ter De­part­ment em­ploy­ees to gain ac­cess to homes to steal cash and jew­elry. The im­post­ors, who have been tar­get­ing older people, claim they need to check the pipes. There were in­cid­ents in the 2nd dis­trict on the 1100 block of St. Vin­cent St. and the 2200 block of Tyson Ave.

“Lock the door and tell them, ‘I’ll check,’” Ma­cart­ney sug­ges­ted to any­one who has a knock on the door about a sup­posed wa­ter prob­lem.

State Rep. Kev­in Boyle (D-172nd dist.) does not rep­res­ent Castor Gar­dens, but will have some of the area if the Pennsylvania Su­preme Court ap­proves maps passed by the Le­gis­lat­ive Re­ap­por­tion­ment Com­mis­sion. He called for “com­mon-sense gun con­trol” at the state level after the deadly shoot­ings in Con­necti­c­ut.

Boyle grew up in Ol­ney, and said that in more re­cent years he and his fath­er had guns pulled on them by people in the neigh­bor­hood. He faults law­makers in west­ern Pennsylvania for op­pos­ing gun con­trol meas­ures.

“They’re afraid to do any­thing the NRA op­poses,” he said.

Andy Toy has twice run un­suc­cess­fully as a Demo­crat for a City Coun­cil at-large seat. He lives in Cen­ter City and works in eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment and com­mer­cial cor­ridor re­vital­iz­a­tion. He was sur­prised to not see a fel­low Asi­an-Amer­ic­an at the meet­ing. Castor Gar­dens has a grow­ing num­ber of Asi­ans, many of them busi­ness own­ers on Castor Av­en­ue and Bustleton Av­en­ue. Take Back Your Neigh­bor­hood lead­ers say they would like to see a great­er pres­ence of Asi­an Amer­ic­ans at their meet­ings.

“I’m happy to try to com­mu­nic­ate that,” Toy said.

In oth­er news from the Dec. 17 meet­ing:

• The civic as­so­ci­ation will start a com­munity garden pro­ject in the spring along the 6500 block of Hor­rocks St. side of Max My­ers Play­ground. Seeds or starter plants will be provided. Call Max My­ers at 215-685-1242 or e-mail the civic as­so­ci­ation pres­id­ent, Jared So­lomon, at jaredg­so­

• Rhawn­hurst Nat­ur­ally Oc­cur­ring Re­tire­ment Com­munity’s first meet­ing of 2013 will take place on Thursday, Jan. 24, at noon, at Samuel Ta­bas House, at 2101 Strahle St. There will be mu­sic, dan­cing, a hot lunch and cake.

Rhawn­hurst NORC is look­ing for vo­lun­teers for the Philly Snow Corps pi­lot pro­ject. Any­one in­ter­ested in shov­el­ing snow for seni­or cit­izens can email NORC pro­gram man­ager Abby Gil­bert at agil­

• Take Back Your Neigh­bor­hood typ­ic­ally meets once a month on a Monday, but will meet again on Tues­day, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at Max My­ers Play­ground, 1601 Heller­man St. The play­ground is closed the day be­fore for Mar­tin Luth­er King Day. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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