The City Council Rules Committee yesterday unanimously approved a bill reauthorizing the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District for 10 more years, and the bill will go before the full body in September.
The district, which was established in 2003 to attract new businesses and to promote and clean the East Passyunk corridor from Broad Street to Federal, has been criticized by some business owners who claim the organization has been wasteful with its spending.
But, largely, those critics were not present at yesterday's committee meeting.
Ed Kirlin, who owns a consulting business that has worked with unions, including electricians union Local 98, was the lone citizen who testified. He said he was representing the interests of "several" property owners on the Avenue who oppose the business district.
Kirlin said he was part of an ad hoc committee of East Passyunk property owners who want changes in the district's bylaws to allow business owners to vote (only property owners can vote under current rules); to elect board members (other board members now appoint them); and to mandate regular monthly meetings.
Councilman Frank DiCicco, one of the bill's co-sponsors, questioned Kirlin as to his interest in the district. Kirlin, who worked on the state Senate campaign of John Dougherty, Local 98 business manager, admitted that he didn't own property in the district area but was looking at buying a building.
"I don't have any ideas of what his intentions were but to disrupt," DiCicco said after the hearing. "Why he wants to disrupt, I don't know. There are numerous young folks down there who are establishing businesses, putting their life's future into this East Passyunk Avenue corridor. They have all endorsed the bid."