MEMO TO CCRA'ERS : MAN UP TO TAX INCREASES (AND WOMAN UP TOO)
All CCRA members fall within the two groups which perpetually complain about taxes - men and women. So we are giving it to you straight. Before its ten week summer recess (don't ask) and more than a month after standing before electorate in the May primary (are you asking again?), City Council passed three tax increases totaling $70 million, as a response to the School District's request for $103 million in new City funding.
$50 million from a 4.5% property tax increase. The millage rate will increase from 1.34% to 1.40%. When the homestead exemption is included, taxes on a residence assessed for $500,000 will increase by $282.
$10 million from a parking tax increase. The tax rate will rise from 20% to 22.5%. Parking lot and garage operators will probably increase their rates to cover this tax increase.
$10 million from a 7.7% increase in the Use and Occupancy tax. This tax is paid by tenants in commercial buildings. The increase is estimated to cost the average commercial tenant $120 for a 1,000 square foot space.
$45 of the $70 million will go directly to the School District as the taxes are collected. The Inquirer reported that the remaining $25 million "was not guaranteed" but, instead, was allocated to Council's own budget for transfer to the District when Council reconvenes in September. In discussing the $25 million holdback, Council President Clarke was reported to have concerns about the District's proposed outsourcing for the hiring of substitute teachers and nurses, an initiative approved by the School Reform Commission.
As for the $30 million shortfall between School Superintendent Hite's $103 million request and Council's $70 million, Clarke mentioned that this gap might be addressed by the sale of tax liens via an "experimental" auction although, according to the Inquirer, the administration had not worked up a revenue estimate for the sales .
Our two District council representatives, Darrell Clarke and Kenyatta Johnson, both voted for the property tax and Use and Occupancy tax increases but, on the parking tax levy, Clarke voted in favor while Johnson opposed.
LAST CALL: STREET SCENE GARDEN PHOTOGRAPHY REGISTRATION, TUES., 6/30
The GARDEN entry deadline for the Street Scene competition is June 30. Photography entries are due by August 15. To enter, click here.
Sponsored by Reinhold Residential, Pam Rosser Thistle, REALTOR, and Friends in the City.
DINE WITH NEIGHBORS/LEARN ABOUT ISLAM: MON. 6/29 7:30 PM, TRIN CH. 22nd & SPRUCE
What percentage of the world's population self identifies as Muslim?
What percentage of U.S. residents identify as Muslim?
Which country has the largest Muslim population?
What percentage of Muslims are Arabic?
Find out the answers to these questions (and others) at an interfaith break- the-fast meal preceded by a discussion of Islamic Ramadan traditions sponsored by Peace Islands Institute, CCRA and Trinity commencing at 7:30 pm with the Ramadan meal served at sundown, 8:30 pm. To ensure a headcount for seating, preregistration with a $10.00/person fee is required. Register online at centercityresidents.orgor call 215 546 6719. Proceeds will be donated to Oxfam for Nepalese relief efforts.
CCRA will close on Friday, 7/3. The office will reopen on Monday, 7/6, at 9 AM.
STREET SCENE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP AT THE COMMUNITY GARDEN, 7/11, 10AM, 25TH & SPRUCE ST
Join Schuylkill River Park Community Garden photographer Michael Stern for a flower photography workshop. Meet at the main (east) entrance gate and learn how to take effective and compelling photographs of gardens, flowers as well as the people that take care of them. This will be a hands-on workshop to help you get the best out of the equipment you have. Learn tips and tricks to help you win the Street Scene photography competition! Rain or shine.
HOMES NEEDED FOR CCRA'S 57TH ANNUAL FALL HOUSE TOUR, SUN, 10/18
Our 57th Annual House Tour will be held on Sunday, Oct. 18 This is an important fundraiser for the Association. As hundreds of your neighbors have done before, would you be willing to place your home, apartment, or condo on the Tour this year? We provide insurance and multiple on-site hosts/hostesses. You receive our deepest thanks, as well as recognition in our Tour Book and the Center City Quarterly. Please contact the CCRA office for further information at 215-546-6719 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS PRIVILEGES: SKY HIGH BLOCK PARTY AT PYRAMID CLUB ON TUES., 7/14, 5-8PM
The Pyramid Club, at the top of the Mellon Bank Building, 1735 Market St., is hosting a party on Bastille Day for members of CCRA (and Logan Square Neighbors Association). The event is FREE to our members, and will include beverages and hors d'oeuvres with spectacular views from the 52nd floor, but you MUST PREREGISTER by clicking here and using the password Pyramid. For further information, call the Pyramid Club at 215-567-6510.
STREET SCENE TIP - WINDOW BOXES FOR THE "BROWN THUMB"
Not everyone has a green thumb. If you've never grown a thing, it's still possible for you to give your neighbors (and yourself) a gift of a bit of greenery. Not to mean that a window box is no work whatsoever, but it doesn't have to be labor-intensive, thought you'll still have to fertilize occasionally and water your window box every day. So if you have a brown thumb, consider buying two or three asparagus ferns, a couple of snake plant (Sansevieria or mother in law tongue), and some peace lilies, for example, for your window box. Look in the houseplant section of your local hardware or big box home store. Don't forget some cascading plants like wandering jew, philodendron, and of course ivy. Treat these tender house plants as annuals in your window box and if you're able, bring them inside for the winter or just replace them next year. If you'd like some color, plunge pots flowering plants like Gerbera daisies and other colorful summer bloomers you get at the grocery store, but just be aware they will not last a very long time, so you will have to replace them regularly. Above all, avoid silk and plastic flowers in your window box, no matter how tempting they might be. The sun bleaches the fabric or plastic in no time, and they just look wrong.
CCRA MERCHANT MEMBERS DISCOUNT PROGRAM
Support our local merchants and save money too. These local merchants will provide a discount (described here) to any member who shows a current CCRA membership card (Di Bruno Bros. has its own CCRA card) and personal identification.
Uber - Limo service Uber provides $20 off a first ride, Good for new users only. Members use code CCRA14.
Philly Foodworks - Use the code "CCRA" when signing up for home delivery and receive a $20 discount on delivery charges.
NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS AND EVENTS
WELCOME AMERICA CELEBRATION, 6/27-7/4
The 2015 festival calendar brings you 8 days of free, exciting events for the whole family! Visit museums, see a movie, attend a block party, and much more. Click here for a full schedule of events.
Summer Teen Reading Program at Phila City InsT, Tuesdays beg. 6/30 - 8/4, 3-4PM, 1905 Locust St.
The Philadelphia City Institute branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia located at 1905 Locust Street invites all teenagers (entering grades 7-12) to participate in our summer reading program. Interested teens should stop by the library anytime to enter the prize raffle (one hour of reading = one raffle ticket). Great prizes will be provided by the Friends of PCI Library. Teenagers can also participate in fun craft and cooking activities during the library's Teen Tuesdays program, which will be held on Tuesdays from 3:00 to 4:00 P.M. (beginning June 30 and ending August 4). Please visit the Reference Desk of the library or call 215-685-6621 for more information.
SUMMER GROUP SHOW, 7/10 - 8/9, tWENTY-TWO GALLERY, 236 S 22ND ST.
Opening Reception, Friday, 7/10, 6:00 PM
Treat yourself to a wonderful piece of original artwork this summer... It will give you enjoyment for a lifetime and can be passed on for others to enjoy in the future....and you will be supporting local artists!
Volunteer To Sort And Inventory Books For The Philadelphia School District, 440 N. BROAD ST.
WePAC (West Philadelphia Alliance for Children) needs an incredible amount of help from the community to get this job done. Volunteer opportunities are available for a week, a day or a few hours.
You will work at district headquarters at 440 N. Broad Street
The work space is dusty so be prepared to get a little dirty. You will be on your feet so wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Dust masks are available.
Some assignments require heavy lifting. Many only require standing, so read the description for each volunteer shift.
Click hereto see current opportunities for this work and keep checking back to see new opportunities as they become available.