Mini-City Hall moves to new home on Castor Avenue

MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

The city last week officially opened satellite offices for the Departments of Revenue and Licenses and Inspections and Councilman Brian O’Neill in a strip mall in Rhawnhurst.

The new location is at 7522 Castor Ave., in the same crowded center as a Police and Fire Federal Credit Union branch and other businesses.

The 9,000-square-foot facility had been vacant since 2008. It is the former home of the Northeast Older Adult Center, which moved eight years ago to the playground at Bustleton and Solly avenues. The office is officially called the Northeast Municipal Services Center, but commonly referred to as “mini-City Hall.” Its former location was an out-of-the-way site at the rear of 9239 Roosevelt Blvd.

Among those at the ceremony were O’Neill; Mayor Jim Kenney; Councilman Al Taubenberger; state Sen. John Sabatina Jr.; and Commissioners Bridget Collins-Greenwald (Public Property), Frank Breslin (Revenue) and Dave Perri (L&I).

Cutting the ribbon were Harold Aponte and Felipe Velasquez, Public Property employees who directly oversaw the project.

Individuals can pay real estate and business taxes and water bills; apply for Water Department and real estate billing assistance programs; and apply for permits, starting in October.

Each year, the center assists some 30,000 people and collects more than $33 million in taxes and water charges. It is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kenney said Northeast residents can take care of city business “without having to schlepp downtown.”

O’Neill thanked Kenney for a “quick yes” when he asked if he could have space for an office. The councilman also said Collins-Greenwald, Breslin and Perri are part of “a real ‘A’ team” assembled by the mayor. Longtime O’Neill aide Peggy Recupido works at the Castor Avenue site.

O’Neill said the office will complement the work done by the offices of Sabatina and state Rep. Ed Neilson.

“It’s a Rhawnhurst first,” he said.

Taubenberger likes the accessibility of the center.

“This is a great opportunity for Northeast Philadelphia in that it brings government closer,” he said. “It relieves the frustration people might have with government.” ••

MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

Ribbon cutting: Officials celebrate the opening of mini-City Hall on Sept. 13. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO