Butkovitz speaks at Bustleton Civic League meeting

City Con­trol­ler Alan Butkovitz spoke about how the Key­stone Op­por­tun­ity Zones have cost the city $10 for every tax dol­lar brought in, city con­tracts and the pro­posed sale of the Phil­adelphia Gas Works dur­ing the March 26 meet­ing of the Great­er Bustleton Civic League.

The tax-free KOZs, set up in the late 1990s to at­tract busi­nesses to Phil­adelphia, have cost the city $384 mil­lion in lost tax rev­en­ues and brought in only $39 mil­lion in new wage taxes, Butkovitz told league mem­bers. 

It’s not a good deal for the city to be los­ing $10 for every dol­lar it brings in, the con­trol­ler said.

The KOZ idea is a pro­pos­i­tion whose work­ings were not ac­tu­ally ex­amined. No one col­lects in­form­a­tion on how it is ac­tu­ally work­ing, he said.

“We want people to prove pro­pos­i­tions,” he said.

Butkovitz said he is hold­ing up pay­ment to a vendor whose work pav­ing a taxi­way at Phil­adelphia In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port is un­der par, he said. He said his of­fice must ap­prove all the pay­ments the city makes, but he said the pav­ing work of the taxi­way, which planes use to get to the air­port’s run­way, is break­ing down. He said the city should file a claim against the vendor, and not pay.

“We don’t want to en­cour­age more shoddy work,” he said.

The con­trol­ler also is not par­tic­u­larly happy with May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter’s pro­pos­al to sell the city-owned Phil­adelphia Gas Works to UIL, a New Eng­land-based power com­pany.

The im­petus for the sale, Butkovitz said, is to get PGW pipes re­paired. He said the city has not in­ves­ted in re­pair­ing PGW in­fra­struc­tures.

“There is an 87-year sched­ule to fix the pipes,” he said. 

If UIL re­pairs PGW’s pipes, it will be en­titled to re­coup 110 per­cent of the costs from cus­tom­ers.

“It will lead to high­er rates un­less there is a way to sub­sid­ize the re­pairs,” Butkovitz said.

The con­trol­ler said many mem­bers of City Coun­cil, which must ap­prove a PGW sale, don’t like the UIL pro­pos­al. “I an­ti­cip­ate this par­tic­u­lar pro­pos­al will not go through,” he said.


• Rich Si­mon, the 7th Po­lice Dis­trict’s com­munity re­la­tions of­ficer, told mem­bers a re­tire­ment party is planned for the 7th’s former com­mand­er, Capt. Joseph Zaffino, from 8 p.m. to mid­night on Fri­day, May 16, at the Ra­dis­son Hotel, 2400 Old Lin­coln High­way and Route 1 in Tre­vose. Zaffino, on the po­lice force for 32 years, com­manded the 7th for about sev­en years. He fre­quently at­ten­ded league ses­sions.

Tick­ets are $50 and must be pur­chased in ad­vance by May 1. Any­one in­ter­ested in pur­chas­ing tick­ets may call Joyce Mc­Col­ligan, Steve Gantz, Dee Red­man or Sam Han­cock at the dis­trict, 215-686-3072. 

• There were no zon­ing present­a­tions at the March 26 meet­ing. The league’s pres­id­ent, Jack O’Hara, said two will come be­fore mem­bers at their April 23 ses­sion. The first will be about the in­stall­a­tion of gas pumps at BJ’s on Red Li­on Road. The second will con­cern a vari­ance for a home on the 800 block of Char­ette Road. He said he had no fur­ther in­form­a­tion on that vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion. O’Hara said the league cur­rently is speak­ing with ap­plic­ants and will put fli­ers around the neigh­bor­hood be­fore the April ses­sion.

• Also at the April ses­sion, nom­in­a­tions for board posts will be an­nounced. The elec­tion will be con­duc­ted dur­ing the May meet­ing, and of­ficers will take their seats in June. Mem­bers yearly elect their pres­id­ent, vice pres­id­ent, treas­urer and re­cord­ing sec­ret­ary. Mem­bers typ­ic­ally have no meet­ings in Ju­ly and Au­gust. 

• O’Hara talked up the an­nu­al city­wide cleanup slated for Sat­urday, April 5. He said league vo­lun­teers will con­cen­trate their ef­forts on the area around Grant Av­en­ue and Krewstown Road and at Hayes Play­ground on the 9900 block of Pres­id­ent Street.

• The league is send­ing out no­tices to five area schools, ask­ing them to nom­in­ate stu­dents to be honored for com­munity and school ser­vice. The awards to one stu­dent each from Ma­ter­nity, St. Al­bert’s, Anne Frank, Green­berg and Baldi schools will be made at the league’s May meet­ing at the Amer­ic­an Her­it­age Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on, 2068 Red Li­on Road.

• The league’s next meet­ing will be 7 p.m. Wed­nes­day, April 23, at the cred­it uni­on. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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