Mayor Nutter and City Council on Thursday followed through on their plan to cut salaries of the seven-member Board of Revision of Taxes in advance of a May referendum proposal to eliminate it.
By a vote of 16-1, Council approved legislation reducing the chair's pay from $75,000 to $50,000 and compensating most other members with a $150 per diem. All but the chair and secretary are no longer eligible for city-funded benefits.
Nutter immediately signed the bill and had Finance Director Rob Dubow write to each member informing them of the decision.
Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell cast the dissenting vote. She has consistently opposed BRT measures out of concern for its patronage employees. After the Council meeting, she said she had voted against the measure because it was only a "symbolic" gesture and did not address the BRT's long-term issues.
"I want real reform," she said.
The pay cut, which came at Nutter's request, has been widely anticipated ever since the BRT refused to renew an agreement with the Nutter administration that had given the mayor day-to-day control over the independent property assessment agency. The agency and the city are embroiled in a lawsuit, and relations between the board and the mayor are abysmal.
On May 18, voters are slated to approve or reject a charter change that would abolish the BRT and replace it with two new entities later this year: one would handle property assessments, the other would hear appeals of those assessments from property owners.
Originally, Nutter had asked that all members of the BRT have their pay - which had ranged from $70,000 to $75,000 a year for part-time work - cut to $18,700. Council, however, opted for salaries that are a match for those of the board that will replace the BRT if voters approve next month's charter change.
Under the new salary structure, BRT Chair Charlesretta Meade will receive $50,000 annually and Board Secretary Robert N.C. Nix III will receive $45,000 a year.
All other members will be paid a $150 per diem. Judging by the BRT's hearing schedule, the $150 rate will yield the remaining five directors just $1,800 for the rest of this tax year, assuming the BRT members only show up for work at scheduled meetings. It is not entirely clear if they can draw a per diem for those days where no public meetings are scheduled.
Voters could make all of this debate over salary relatively meaningless if they approve the May charter change. In that event, the seven members of the BRT will be out of a job as of Oct. 1.
Also Thursday, Councilman William K. Greenlee proposed a bill to regulate promoters who organize events at bars and clubs.
Greenlee said police and neighbors have grown increasingly frustrated over events organized by outside promoters that turn unruly or violent. His bill, cosponsored by Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, would require promoters to obtain a business license and police permit for such events 30 days in advance, providing proof of a contract with the establishment and detailed security plan.
Councilman James F. Kenney's bill to require energy-efficient "cool" roofs on all new flat-roofed buildings passed unanimously.