COUNCILMEMBER THOMAS INTRODUCES CITIZEN WATCHDOG BILL

In Council News, Isaiah Thomas by PHL Council

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Citizen Watchdogs will cement a partnership with communities to curb quality of life crimes 

PHILADELPHIA, PA. – Today in City Council, Councilmember Isaiah Thomas (At Large) introduced an ordinance which will create The Citizen Watchdog Fund as a way to reward Philadelphians who help government address quality of life issues. Philadelphia’s quality of life issues, such as illegal dumping, have taken over our neighborhoods and residents are looking for solutions. In addition to making residential areas and business corridors less pleasant, these quality of life issues fuel a perception of lawlessness and apathy.

“We see quality of life issues, like illegal dumping, worsening across the city,” said Councilmember Isaiah Thomas. “We’re creating The Citizen Watchdog Fund to reward Philadelphians who help government solve these types of issues. Everyone has a role to play in making Philadelphia a better and cleaner city. We need residents to help us be partners; we also need to reward these citizens who help out and step up.”

The Citizen Watchdog Fund will reward Philadelphians with a minimum of $500 for closed cases that a resident has a part in closing. These quality of life issues, relevant to Citizen Watchdogs, include  street dumping, illegal alcohol sales, excessive noise, ATV usage, and vehicles that lead to car accidents.

“Fishtown, like many neighborhoods, is known to many for its restaurants, retail, entertainment, housing, and many worldly amenities,” said Marc Collazzo, JD, Executive Director of the Fishtown Kensington Area Business Improvement District (BID). “In order to maintain these ideals and grow our beloved hamlet, our BID employs Fishtown Ambassadors and Ready, Willing & Able, respectively, to deal with the high volume of trash and refuse that accumulate each day. The new Citizen Watchdog Fund is a welcome tool to help report and fight this neighborhood epidemic, by empowering our citizenry to stand up and report these incidents that affect our quality of life.  Moreover, it financially rewards these dedicated residents at a time when community members could use it.  This new tool is a model for how government and their constituencies truly collaborate to make the changes we all want to see in our world.”

The reward, determined by the Managing Director’ Office, will be decided based on the extent of the violation, the accuracy/specificity of the information provided by the Citizen Watchdog, and the Citizen Watchdog’s cooperation with an potential investigation/legal proceedings. While implementation and distribution of funds will be set by the Administration, this ordinance will be effectively immediately upon City Council’s passage and Mayor Kenney’s signature.

The bill to create The Citizen Watchdog Fund is cosponsored by Councilmembers Driscoll and Squilla.

Read the legislation:

CM Thomas – Citizen Watchdog Ordinance

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