City Declares Snow Emergency in Advance of Storm

City Declares Snow Emergency in Advance of Storm

With a storm approaching the region, Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis announced that a Snow Emergency will be declared for the City of Philadelphia beginning at 12:01 am on Thursday, February 9.

For citizens, a Snow Emergency means all parked cars must be moved off Snow Emergency routes for plowing. When moving your car, park as far from the corner of the street as possible; vehicles parked too close to the corner get in the way of snow plows trying to turn corners.

Snow Emergency information can be found at here; and a map of Snow Emergency routes can be found here.  Cars left on Snow Emergency routes will be moved to other parking spots to assist in snow plowing operations. If your car is moved, call 215-686-SNOW to find it. Do NOT call 911.

Citizens are encouraged to travel with caution Thursday. Please give yourself extra time to get to your destination, and workers are encouraged to make use of flex time if available.  Caution will be particularly important during the morning rush hour, when snowfall rates could reach 2 inches per hour, and heavy winds are also expected.

Sanitation and recycling collections tomorrow will be suspended.  Residents in neighborhoods that normally have collections on Thursdays are asked to hold their trash until the following week. Crews are expected to resume collections on Friday but residents should expect delays. There will be no collections in driveways Friday. Residents should place materials at curbside to be picked up.

Salting/Plowing: The Philadelphia Streets Department – working in coordination with Parks and Recreation, L&I, Water, and CLIP – will begin a salting operation around midnight. The Department has more than 50,000 tons of salt available.  Crews will begin plowing as the snow accumulates, and will treat and plow side streets and neighborhood streets as conditions permit.  The Department will have 350 trucks running the streets at the peak of the operation.
City government offices will be open during normal business hours Thursday.  Supervisors are urged to offer flexibility if employees are late.

SEPTA will post real-time travel updates at www.septa.org and @SEPTA on Twitter.

Airport: Travelers and those picking up travelers are encouraged to check their flight status before leaving for the Airport tomorrow. Call your airline, get updates at 1-800-PHL-GATE or check the Airport website, www.phl.org.

Call Centers Open
• The Philly 311 Call Center will remain open during normal business hours Thursday (8am- 8pm) to take calls for non-emergencies.  Requests for salting and plowing will not be taken during the storm.  Once the storm has moved on, the City will announce when such requests will be taken.
• The Philadelphia Water Department’s customer contact center 215-685-6300 will be open. Citizens are encouraged to shovel snow from the fronts of fire hydrants and storm drains on their block to allow snow melt to drain to the city sewer system.
Homeless Outreach: Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services has declared the fourth Code Blue of the winter season effective tonight at 8pm until Saturday, February 11th at noon to prevent weather related deaths among people experiencing homelessness during dangerously cold temperatures. During a Code Blue, the city’s homeless outreach teams increase staffing and foot patrols throughout the city and transports homeless people directly to shelter 24 hours a day. Also, during a Code Blue, Philadelphia Police are authorized to transport homeless people to a shelter.

City officials urge concerned citizens who see a person living on the street to call Homeless Outreach at 215-232-1984 and report the sighting. During the call, citizens should provide the address, location, and description of the person in need. Homeless outreach teams are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Philadelphia Prisons: All inmate visits are canceled Thursday for all jails in Philadelphia County.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority will not enforce meter and time limit violations after 10:00 p.m. tonight due to the snow emergency. The PPA will enforce all snow emergency and safety violations. Vehicles illegally parked on snow emergency routes after midnight tonight will be subject to ticketing and towing.

The Parking Authority will offer discounted parking in Center City garages during the Snow Emergency to help lessen the amount of cars parked on the street. Beginning at 6:00 p.m. today and running through the end of the Snow Emergency, the Philadelphia Parking Authority will offer a special 24-hour flat rate of $5.00 for the following parking facilities:
• AutoPark at Independence Mall (5th & Market Streets)
• AutoPark at Jefferson (10th & Ludlow Streets)
• Autopark at the Gallery Mall (10th & Filbert Streets)
• Autopark at 8th & Filbert Streets Garage (801 Filbert Street)
• AutoPark at Old City (2nd & Sansom Streets)
• Philadelphia Family Court Garage (1503-11 Arch Street – Going south on 15th Street, enter the garage on the west side just after 15th & Cherry St.)
• Gateway Garage (enter from Spring Street between 15th & 16th Streets)
To receive the discounted $5 rate, customers must bring their ticket and pay at the PPA Management Office in each garage.

Indego: For updates on Indego bike share during the snow storm, please refer to www.rideindego.com or follow @rideindego on Twitter.

The Departments of Parks and Recreation reminds residents that if a tree falls during a storm and it’s blocking a road, or it has fallen on a house, car or other property, call 911.  A crew of arborists from Philadelphia Parks & Recreation are on-call to respond to tree emergencies and they will come out to remove the hazard and any part of the tree that is an immediate risk to public safety. Other parts of the tree that don’t pose an immediate risk (such as tree trunks and stumps) will be removed at a later time so crews can focus on other safety hazards around the city during extreme weather events.  In the event that a tree has fallen on electrical wires, please call PECO’s emergency line: 1-800-841-4141.

Pet Safety: Citizens should contact the ACCT Philly hotline (267-385-3800) if they observe a dog or other pet outside during extreme cold. It is against City ordinance to leave dogs outside in extreme cold without proper shelter, and owners can be fined up to $500.

Thursday Protests Against Repealing Obamacare Means Street Closures

Thursday Protests Against Repealing Obamacare Means Street Closures

Protest coincides with yearly congressional Republican retreat
Start: Thomas Paine Plaza near City Hall
1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102
11am, Thursday, January 26, 2017
Thousands of people will come together in Philadelphia to protest plans by Republican members of Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The protest coincides with an annual retreat for congressional Republicans where President Trump will be in attendance. The retreat will be held from January 25 to 27 in Philadelphia.

Protesters will demand lawmakers:

• improve, not repeal the Affordable Care Act;
• reject Medicare vouchers;
• protect senior citizens;
• say no to slashing $1 trillion from state funding for Medicaid, which will cut coverage and raise out of pocket costs for the 73 million working families, seniors, and people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid; and
• lower prescription drug costs by using Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate better deals from drug corporations

Road Closures:
The following roads will be closed beginning at 8am Thursday and will remain closed until at least 6pm Thursday night:
13th Street from Chestnut Street to Market Street
Market Street from 11th Street to Juniper Street
12th Street from Chestnut to Arch Street
The public should expect rolling road closures during dignitary movement on Thursday.
Parking Restrictions:
The following parking restrictions will go into effect at 6am Thursday:
13th Street from Chestnut to Market Streets
Market Street from 11th Street to Juniper Street
12th Street from Chestnut to Arch Street
PPA and PPD will tow any cars located on those streets to the PPA impoundment lot at 2501 S. Weccacoe Avenue in South Philadelphia. The parking restrictions will be lifted when the roads reopen to vehicular traffic Thursday evening.
Pedestrian Restrictions:
The United States Secret Service is establishing a secure perimeter that will limit pedestrian access to the following streets starting at 6am on Thursday:
1100 and 1200 block of Market – both north and south sides
12th Street from Chestnut to Filbert Streets – both east and west sides
13th Street from Chestnut to Market Streets – both east and west sides

Medicaid & Medicare Impact by Attack on Affordable Care Act

Medicaid & Medicare Impact by Attack on Affordable Care Act

Concerning Medicaid, Patrick Keenan, director of Consumer Protections and Policy with the Pennsylvania Health Access Network said he is alarmed by proposals being made by lawmakers opposed to the Affordable Care Act in Congress. “Those proposals not only reverse or limit the expansion that we were able to take benefit of in Pennsylvania, but it actually goes to changing the heart of the Medicaid program and how it’s financed and how it’s structured. Most of the proposals would limit block grants and per capita caps. What they would basically do is upset the Medicaid apple cart.”

That means that states would no longer have to comply with certain standards and could impose any changes they wanted. “Everything would be up for grabs, and Medicaid could no longer be an entitlement program.”  Keenan believes it is likely that protections and standards would not be required any longer by the state administered programs, and they would no longer be obliged to cover as many groups and types of individuals. That would include folks like seniors, persons with disabilities, children, and pregnant women. “It would be not just rolling back the ACA; it’s actually rolling back decades of progress we have made in Pennsylvania,” Keenan said.

In terms of Medicare, Keenan said that “the Affordable Care Act made huge improvements for seniors and other persons who rely on this income. Unfortunately the best kept secret about the ACA are those improvements. What it did was lowered prescription drug costs, as well as makes sure that seniors are getting more financial help and resources.”

The ACA also monitors the numerous Medicare advantage plans, the private HMO-esque plans, through the implementation of a ratings system to make sure only high quality plans are offered. Under the ACA, if plans do not meet certain standards, they can no longer be sold. Keenan says that PHAN wants to ensure that “Quality, timely care for seniors which is affordable remains available. The organization strives to create more innovative models to get seniors the care that they need in a responsible way.” Additionally, very often “at risk” seniors use a combination of Medicaid and Medicare. An overhaul of the ACA would place these most vulnerable seniors at risk.

“The Affordable Care Act is something that doesn’t just affect the 1.1 million Pennsylvanians that have been enrolled in coverage under the ACA, (but also) the 430,000 in the marketplace and 700,000 in Medicaid expansion,” Keenan said.

MLK Day March on January 16

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Monday, January 16th – starting at 10am thousands from across the region will come together for MLK-DARE (Day of Action, Resistance, and Empowerment) 2017: March for a Better America.
The March for a Better America will begin at the slave quarters on Independence Mall (6th and Market St.) at 11:30 AM and conclude at Mother Bethel AME Church (6th and Lombard St) for an outdoor rally. At the rally we will unveil our 21st Century Declaration of Rights which will call on politicians, community leaders, and common citizens to support the basic human rights we cherish like affordable housing, health care, and quality public education for all.

On the *Sunday before the march*, Millennial Catholic POWER will be hosting a sign-making event at Old St. Joseph’s Church. Come meet other Catholics who care about issues of racial and economic justice, make a sign, and then make plans to meet up with us the next morning. Art supplies and snacks will be provided.

In this critical time, we cannot just say what we are against but must article what we demand. The march kicks off our 100 Days of Faithful Resistance which mirrors the first hundred days of the new administration. More details to come. Check www.powerinterfaith.org for updates and look for emails as plans develop in the coming weeks.

Event Location:

Mother Bethel AME Church
419 South 6th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

January 16: MLK Day D.A.R.E. March for a Better America

Details About Agreement Reached Concerning Drop Program for Locals 810, 2187, & 2186

Details About Agreement Reached Concerning Drop Program for Locals 810, 2187, & 2186

 

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What Is DROP?

DROP program was created to keep city workers on the job with institutional knowledge longer, while helping the city plan for retirements. DROP is an enhancement to your current pension plan. Under DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan), an employee sets a date up to four years in advance. At that point, your monthly pension benefit is then credited to a tax-deferred interest-bearing account.  When you officially retire within four years of your DROP enrollment date, you will begin to receive your monthly pension benefit, plus the accumulated balance in your DROP account.

Who Is Eligible to Participate?

Any employee who has attained at least 10 years of credited service* and attained the normal retirement age of their plan – Plan J – Age 55; Plan Y – Age 60.

What happened to the DROP?

In or about September 2011, The City passed Bill 110443 (Drop Ordinance) making changes to the plan. The bill would have changed the age you could enter drop and the interest rate.  DC 47 filed an unfair labor practice with the NLRB for Local’s 2187 and 810. Our members were harmed and we fought back.  During the negotiations, then Mayor Nutter separated Local 2186 from DC 47 negotiations, because they are a meet and discuss Local. They HAD to enter Drop under the new ordinance.  Our members were harmed and we fought back.  

Settlement Reached and What does it all mean for me?

President Fred Wright, Chief Negotiator for AFSCME DC 47; with the advice of Local 810 President  Jim Magee, Former Local 2186 President Alfreda Jones, and  Pension Representative Carol Stukes-Baylor was able to reach a settlement on October 31, 2016. Members of Local 2186 were made whole.  This settlement is the same as AFSCME District Council 33. Local 2187 President Bob Coyle was consulted.   

  • Within 30 days of signing the City will withdraw its appeal to the NLRB on the applicability of the DROP Ordinance to employees in 810 and 2187. WIN   
  • Effective upon adoption, revised Interest rates in the DROP Ordinance will apply to DC 47-represented employees, EXCEPT any employee who is enrolled in Drop or eligible to enroll in Drop on the date of adoption. (Anyone in DROP will get their pension re-calculated for 4.5%. Employees not vested or not DROP eligible upon adoption would receive 0.65% or the Treasury rate at the time going into DROP.)

NOTE:  It will not be retroactive – meaning that if a person is DROP eligible but not in DROP, they cannot ask to be put in at an earlier date.

  • Effective upon adoption city employees that are members of Local 2186 will NO Longer be subject to a two year delay as imposed by the Drop Ordinance. However, no employee will be able to enter the Drop retroactively. (Meaning a 2186 employee can go into DROP at age 55 J-Plan  or 60 Y-Plan and not wait two addition years.)
  • Effective upon adoption, city employees that are members of Local 2186 who are currently enrolled in OR eligible to enroll in Drop on the date of implementation of this ordinance will have the interest rate calculation which existed before the Drop Ordinance applied to their Drop accounts. (Local 2186 Employees will be made whole, receiving the same benefit as Locals 2187 and 810. For a total of 4.5% interest compared to 0.65% before.)
  • This agreement is entered into as a settlement of the pending appeal of the PLRB Decision and is based solely on the facts and circumstances of the case.

Example of a Drop Benefit:

(Not to undermine the interest rate… BUT  If your service retirement benefit is $2,600.00 monthly and you remain in DROP for the maximum four-(4) year period, upon separating from city employment on average without any interest rate calculated you can receive about $124,800.

For further information concerning DROP, call 215-496-7430 to arrange an appointment with a pension counselor.