Philly City Council buys radio time to give its story on PGW sale

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 Council President Darrell Clarke (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Council President Darrell Clarke (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Council is spending $20,000 to send a message about Philadelphia Gas Works.

Council President Darrell Clarke said he and his colleagues decided to spend the tax dollars on radio ads to show the public that they are carefully considering the proposed sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works to a private utility.

“We thought it was appropriate to have an unfiltered message put out into the public. Too often, the message from one particular entity or another doesn’t get out to the people,” he said. “So sometimes City Council or some other agency feels the need to get the message to the people to let people know what the process is all about.”

Council members hope to have their independent evaluation of the PGW deal and the thousands of pages of documents turned over by the Nutter administration ready for the public by the end of its summer recess, Clarke said.

“The most important thing is that they give us a thorough analysis,” he said. “What I didn’t want to do is have the consultant come in and meet a timeline that didn’t give them an opportunity to provide the necessary information for us to make an intelligent and informed decision.”

Many council members oppose selling the city-owned gas utility to UIL Holdings Corp. for $1.86 billion. Mayor Michael Nutter wants to use proceeds from the sale to refill the city’s pension accounts.

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