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Home Home Page Featured Rhynhart outlines city deficiencies at Lawncrest Community Association meeting

Rhynhart outlines city deficiencies at Lawncrest Community Association meeting

City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart addressed last week’s meeting of the Lawncrest Community Association.

Rhynhart took office in January 2018. She previously was city treasurer, budget director and chief administrative officer, and worked in finance in the private sector.

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Since taking office, she has demanded better internal controls to deter fraud following the city’s admission that $33 million was unaccounted for.

At present, her office is auditing the Philadelphia Parking Authority. Depending on the results, she could recommend ways to direct more money to the School District of Philadelphia.

Also, she is investigating the procurement of the city’s new voting machines. Her concerns include the high cost.

Rhynhart, a Democrat, describes herself as an independent watchdog who believes in transparency and tries to find ways to discourage tax increases. She has hired more auditors since taking office.

The controller said she is a believer in pre-kindergarten education, so she was an early supporter of the beverage tax. However, she said 70 percent of beverage tax revenue has not gone to pre-K, schools, recreation centers and libraries. Instead, it’s in the general fund.

“Put it in a segregated reserve fund,” she said, adding that the city has ignored her wish.

She has recently met with five commissioners she said need to improve their department’s performances. She identified three of those deficient departments: parks and recreation, water and prisons. The prison system, she said, needs to address its sick leave policy.

Two days after the LCA meeting, her office released its annual report on internal control and on compliance and other matters for the school district. The report, which examines the district’s internal control over financial reporting, found no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies.

In the future, she’ll look into IT inefficiencies and recommend ways to fairly assess properties.

More information is available at controller@phila.gov.

In other news from the June 18 meeting:

• Neighbors favored construction of a 110-foot T-Mobile cell tower at 5750 Newtown Ave. (near Sanger Street) by a vote of 32-9. The nearest residence is 150 feet away. Opponents worried that the tower has the potential to cause health issues. Construction could begin in September. There will be fencing, including barbed wire, and company officials said they would put up lighting if the office of City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker demands it. The Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing is scheduled for June 26.

• The Rita’s Water Ice at Rising Sun Avenue and Van Kirk Street was named Business of the Month. Rita’s brought soft pretzels and mango and chocolate water ice to the meeting.

From left: Lawncrest Community Association vice president Connie Whitfield, Heather Miller, LCA president Bill Dolbow, Rita’s general manager Nicole Houlihan and City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart.

• Sgt. Matt Lowe, of the 2nd Police District, told the crowd that violent crime and property crime in the district are down from a year ago. There has been just once homicide this year, compared to 10 in 2018. Gun seizures have increased from last year.

• The Lawncrest Recreation Center swimming pool, 6000 Rising Sun Ave., is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from noon to 5 p.m. For information on aqua zumba, pool yoga, swim lessons and hours for camp, senior, family, adult and team swims, call 215-685-0597.

• State Rep. Jared Solomon will hold a town hall meeting on Thursday, July 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Jardel Recreation Center, 1400 Cottman Ave.

• The dining services department at the Philadelphia Protestant Home, 6500 Tabor Road, is hiring for cooks, prep cooks, wait staff and utility staff. To apply, call Victoria Carr at 215-697-8040 or visit pphfamily.org.

• Lawncrest Library, 6098 Rising Sun Ave., will host a play and learn camp for kids entering first through third grades weekdays from Aug. 12-23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The camp will include literacy activities, read alouds, games and crafts. To register, call 215-685-0549.

• The Lawncrest Community Association will meet again on Tuesday, July 16, at 7 p.m. at Monsignor Mortimer Memorial Hall, Argyle and Robbins streets. ••

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