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Philadelphia City Council Holds Neighborhood Budget Hearings

By  Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA  (CBS)  --  Philadelphia City Council held the first of two neighborhood budget hearings last night.

It was a lightly attended hearing, with about a dozen citizens showing up at a banquet hall on Columbus Boulevard.

Those who testified had the Actual Value Initiative, or AVI on their mind.

Rene Goodwin is with the Crosstown Coalition of Taxpayers.

She says, "there is no point to putting band-aids on what is a large wound. In my own community, Pennsport, there is evidence of similar or identical properties on the same blocks having been assessed at different values."

Councilman Mark Squilla, is hosting this meeting in his district.

He says they too need a better picture of how AVI works.

"I think as a whole most people believe that if you want to have a fair tax system you can't put garbage into a system and expect to get flowers out of it and right now that's what it seems like they're trying to do," Squilla says.

Another topic that came up, the contract dispute between the city and its white and blue collar workers.

Council President Darrell Clarke says he wants to get involved and a pension proposal could come soon.

"Negotiations with workers are always between management and the workers, which is the administration and the workers. But we are going to figure out a way to try to move the ball along," Clarke says.

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