City Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell has been stewing since 2004, when the Civil Service Commission and the Street administration instituted a $35 fee to apply for a city job.

To make money off the backs of applicants - many of whom are unemployed and/or never get the city job they sought - "there's something dishonest about it."

So Blackwell offered a bill in Council yesterday to do away with what she calls the "application tax."

"It's not fair, and it doesn't send a positive message to the citizens of Philadelphia," Blackwell.

The Personnel Department did not have figures immediately available for how much the city would lose if the bill passes. Blackwell noted that more than 7,528 people recently applied for laborers' positions in the sanitation department, which would have netted the city more than $260,000.

Applicants on public assistance generally qualify for a waiver, but otherwise "People come to be and I end up paying it," Blackwell said. "I can't pay everybody's fee."

The bill would require a change of the Home Rule Charter, which Blackwell hopes to put before the voters in a November referendum.

Contact staff writer Jeff Shields at 215-854-4565 or jshields@phillynews.com.