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CITY COUNCIL TO HOLD TWO HEARINGS TODAY ON DISPARATE IMPACTS OF COVID-19 AND THE CITY’S FISCAL POSITION

In Allan Domb, Cindy Bass, Council News, Curtis Jones, Jr., Darrell L. Clarke, Derek Green, Mark Squilla, News by PHL Council

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — City Council is holding separate  hearings today on different issues — the disparate impact of COVID-19 on people with disabilities and minority residents, and the fiscal condition of the city.

The first hearing is scheduled for 10:00 am, as the Joint Committees on People with Disabilities and Special Needs & Public Health and Human Services examine the racial and ableist disparities of COVID-19 infections in Philadelphia. Councilmember Derek Green (At Large) chairs the Committee on Persons with Disabilities. Councilmember Cindy Bass (8th District) chairs the Public Health Committee.

“Our Black and Brown communities have experienced and continue to suffer the greatest impact from COVID-19, particularly our most vulnerable citizens like the disabled and elderly. This conversation, as well as others likely to follow in the coming weeks, will be critical for our recovery as a city from this public health crisis,” said Green.

Councilmember Bass added, “From the start of this pandemic, we played catch-up with spreading the word that COVID-19 can affect anyone of us. The Coronavirus has un-masked disparities in healthcare for our Black, Brown and disabled communities, and this can’t continue. Going forward, as Chair of the public health committee, I can assure all that today’s hearings will help us address healthcare and subsequent economic questions about our City’s immediate future.”

The second hearing today is set for 2:00 pm, as Council’s Committee on Fiscal Stability and Intergovernmental Cooperation convenes remotely to examine the city’s fiscal position and overarching social impact goals. This committee is chaired by Councilmember Allan Domb (At Large).

“We will set the stage for creating more accountability and transparency around budgetary decisions. The city needs to ensure that it can provide essential services, make strategic investments and set aspirational goals for our short-term health and our long-term well-being. We all want to work together and assist the city with monitoring its finances and providing necessary resources.” said Domb.

Both hearings today will occur remotely, due to the city’s ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed 1,678 Philadelphians’ lives and infected more than 29,800 city residents.

The hearings can be viewed on Xfinity Channel 64, Fios Channel 40 or streamed at http://www.phlcouncil.com/watch

In addition to today’s hearings, another hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday, August 4th, 2020 when the Joint Committees on Finance & Commerce and Economic Development will examine and explore Philadelphia’s safe, equitable and robust economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. That hearing will begin at 9:30 am, and will be co-chaired by Councilmember Green, chair of Finance, and Councilmember Mark Squilla (1st District), chair of the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development.

“The hearing will give members the opportunity to address the negative financial impact COVID-19 has had on our City, its residents and the business community.  We need to work together on programs that will lead to a smart re-start for our local economy so that Philadelphia can recover and move forward,” said Squilla.

Speakers interested in providing testimony for next Tuesday’s hearing on economic recovery from the pandemic should call 215-459-4980 or email frank.iannuzzi@phila.gov by 3:00 pm on Monday, August 3rd. Potential speakers should submit their full name, a callback telephone number, and identify the resolution on which they seek to testify. The economic recovery legislation is Resolution No. 200336. Speakers will be contacted on August 4th and invited into the remote hearing to testify. Speakers will be contacted on August 4th and invited into the remote hearing to testify.

Today’s and next week’s hearings follow a hearing in Council last week, when the Legislative Oversight Committee chaired by Councilmember Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District) examined issues arising from the voting by mail process during the June primary, and heard recommendations for procedures to improve voter education and processes for the November general election from the City Commissioners’ Office. Video of that hearing is available on Council’s YouTube Channel, along with videos of all Council hearings and stated meetings.

Even as Council committees hold hearings this month and next on a variety of issues, many Councilmembers are hard at work in their districts and across the city, hosting food distribution days to help Philadelphians harmed by food insecurity issues as a result of COVID-19, holding gun violence prevention events as the city’s homicide and shooting numbers rise, cleaning up city parks and urging visitors to maintain social distancing, and an array of other tasks and community and constituent outreach.

When Council concluded its final Meeting on June 25th following passage of the fiscal 2021 city budget, Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) said he looked forward to Council reconvening over the summer on a wide array of issues facing the city. “Phase 2 of 2020 is coming, colleagues,” Clarke said that day. “We will be back.”

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