Lien placed on Mayor Michael Nutter's home over gas bill

PHILADELPHIA - June 20, 2013

Nutter received a notice May 3 that showed he had a past-due balance of $507.76 with Philadelphia Gas Works, a city-owned utility, regarding service at his home in the Wynnefield neighborhood. Two weeks later, according to court records, the city placed a lien on the home, but it has since been satisfied.

"The bill is paid," Nutter said in an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News. "Nothing happened." The second-term Democrat, who earns $174,400, declined to elaborate.

His spokesman, Mark McDonald, said Nutter's PGW account is now "current" and that his failure to pay previously was "a private matter." ''The mayor tries to stay current on his bills like everyone else," McDonald said.

Nutter has made a priority of cracking down on tax delinquents in the city, emphasizing collection efforts from tax deadbeats of all income brackets. Critics said his failure to pay on time sets a bad example.

"If you're going to demand that other people pay their taxes and bills on time, you have to make sure you have your own paid," City Controller Alan Butkovitz said. "He has to lead by example."

Zack Stalberg, president of the good-government group Committee of Seventy, lauded PGW for holding Nutter to task.

"It sends a bad message," Stalberg said. "There's a big issue in the city when it comes to money owed. People want to know that the mayor, the leader himself, is current and not delinquent."

Nutter and the city have also been exploring the idea of selling off PGW in recent years as a way to generate revenue. Last year, a consulting company said selling the utility could yield a profit of $146 million to $496 million.

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