Good morning and happy Tuesday. Here’s what’s making news this morning:
At PlanPhilly, we’ve spent a lot of time focused on tax-delinquency – especially through Patrick Kerkstra’s ongoing investigative series in partnership with the Inquirer. So we were very interested when Mayor Nutter announced a renewed effort to find deadbeat property owners and collect taxes owed yesterday afternoon. PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports that the new $40 million strategy will focus on new tech for the Revenue Department to find/track delinquents, an expanded outreach effort, contracting with private collection agencies to improve enforcement, inter-agency coordination and efficiency improvements. This becomes ever more important as the city will mail out its new property assessments next week, in anticipation of the city’s implementation of the Actual Value Initiative. Rest assured, we’ll continue to follow this story.
One of developer Bart Blatstein’s companies was, until late January, tax-delinquent to the tune of six figures, reports the Daily News. Blatstein’s 1033 North Second Associates LP owed $120,274.89 on a building in Northern Liberties, which was paid after the It’s Our Money team brought the matter to the company’s attention.
Ronald Perelman donated $25 million to Penn to create a new home for its political science and economics departments, reports the Inquirer. The new center named for Perelman will be housed in the former West Philadelphia Trust Building at 36th and Walnut, which currently houses Penn offices that will be relocated on campus.
Center City is slightly quieter without Founder’s Bell sounding hourly, as it has for more than 80 years, from One South Broad Street. The bell’s sound – a low D – achieved through a striking mechanism, part of which is broken, the Inquirer reports. A few months ago the timer controlling the number of times the hammer swings to correspond with the hour broke, so with each passing hour the bell is silent. Even though the bell’s practical function has faded over time, KTR Management Services’ David McFarland who manages One South Broad says, “For the sake of the city, we probably should get it fixed. It’s still nice to have something that rings.”
Meet Albert Stumm, the man behind Passyunk Post with a quick Q&A on Flying Kite. Stumm is an assistant city editor at the Daily News by night, and by day he’s breaking hyper-local news (along with a cast of volunteer writers) in the neighborhoods surrounding Passyunk Avenue. If you live/work/are interested this stretch of South Philly and you’re not reading Passyunk Post, chances are you’re missing out on some good neighborhood news.
The Sustainability Workshop is trading healthy lunches in exchange for helping internet grocer Fresh Direct strategize about the company’s operational issues, reports the Inquirer. Students at the alternative program for a few select high school seniors are brainstorming about farm-to-warehouse issues for Fresh Direct, and in the process learning about food systems and eating healthier as a consequence.
The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.