FAQs for 2019 - 2024 Re-authorization

What is re-authorization and why does the GSSD go through this process? 

Read commonly asked questions and get their answers to learn more about the process, expansion, assessments, the organization and what it involves. 2019 - 2024 FAQs

The Budget and Plan Proposed for 2019-2024

If re-authorized, what will the budget of the GSSD include and what services will be provided, what will the district boundaries be? 

Get a better understanding of the boundaries, budget and plan that would govern the GSSD legislatively.  2019 - 2023 Budget and 2019 - 2024 Plan and the 2019 - 2024 Boundaries

Read about the highlights and accomplishments of the GSSD from 2013 - 2018 (to current date). 2013 - 2018 GSSD Highlights and Accomplishments.

The official hearing will be held on Wednesday, April 24th from 3pm - 6pm at First Presbyterian Church of Germantown (35 W. Chelten Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144)

If you’re a property owner please find an electronic copy of the materials you were sent in August and October about the hearing, re-authorization.

 
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Questions about 2019-2024 Re-authorization 

If you're unable to attend one of the community meetings to learn about the re-authorization process for 2019 - 2024, or if you're a property (commercial) owner within the proposed district, send questions: info@GermantownSSD.com 

The Last Re-Authorization for 2013 - 2018

Learn about the re-authorization process of the GSSD in 2012. Read through the Questions and Answers from a few of the community meetings and that were submitted via email. Learn about the current 2013 - 2018 Budget and Plan

 

Germantown Special Services District (GSSD) | www.germantownssd.com | T: (215) 821-8145 | info@germantownssd.com

Board of Directors Officers Trapeta Mayson, Interim Chair Vacant, Vice Chair Cornelia Swinson, Secretary Vacant, Treasurer Directors Jania Daniels Angela Bowie Charles L. Richardson

July 8, 2019

Germantown Special Services District Statement

The Germantown Special Services District (GSSD) was authorized to provide cleaning services within the Germantown commercial corridor for the last five years. These services were initially rendered by Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) and cost approximately $6,000 monthly. The GSSD is a Municipal Authority and as such, is authorized to collect assessments based on the assessed value of properties within the boundaries of the commercial district. For five years and through the support of the board and executive director, the organization not only provided cleaning, but also worked with numerous partners to support safety, beautification and civic activities in Germantown.

In the fall of 2018, the organization experienced both leadership changes and serious financial constraints due to the number of properties in delinquency for not paying their annual assessment. The GSSD then engaged in a process to collect delinquent assessments while also seeking to be reauthorized for the next five years. Municipal Authorities must go through a Reauthorization process every five years. In order for the entity to be authorized, it must have no opposition for at least one third of the property owners.

In the last few months the GSSD forged ahead to continue to offer limited cleaning services despite revenue constraints. The organization engaged Friends of Germantown Northwest, LLC to provide cleaning in the district. The early efforts were supported by donations from board members and a modest grant. Later, the Philadelphia Commerce Department provided funds that had been originally allocated to Germantown United CDC (GUCDC) for cleaning services. GUCDC did not have the capacity to provide the services, so the GSSD received funds based on reimbursement for services rendered. The GSSD did not receive a lump sum from the Commerce Department, but instead, billed for services and were then reimbursed. Those funds ended several weeks ago and the GSSD has continued paying for cleaning services for the last few weeks. The services, though limited, continue to be provided by Friends of Germantown NW, LLC and have been uninterrupted. Cleaning the commercial corridor is made even more difficult by illegal dumping activities and the depositing of household trash in GSSD cans. We worked with the City of Philadelphia Streets Department to help abate this problem and they supported our efforts.

GSSD also created a board nomination process that invited recommendations for new board candidates from property owners and other community stakeholders. The candidates were brought to the board for consideration and the board voted for several candidates and forwarded to city council for a future vote.

GSSD also retained an external accountant who reviewed bank and payroll statements from 2016 to present. The accountant found malfeasance and the board began the work of preparing for a full audit. The board also held several special meetings in addition to the monthly board meetings and moved meeting locations several times to accommodate larger groups. Lastly, the board initiated a governance process and started the work of building the Governance committee. The Germantown Special Services District, working in good faith with property and business owners, the Commerce Department and other city entities, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, and community stakeholders, continued to provide cleaning services despite enormous challenges.

Due to receiving one third letters of opposition, the organization is not able to attain reauthorization at this time. The GSSD is still an entity and will continue as an organization, but due to its inability to collect new assessments, which is its primary source of income, the GSSD will cease cleaning activities in the commercial corridor effective July 12, 2019. This is not a decision we want to make, but we presently do not have the funds to continue the services. GSSD will continue to pursue delinquent assessments and will work with property owners to remove liens once delinquencies are resolved.

Our main concern has been and will continue to be, how to clean our commercial corridor. We do not want our property and business owners, shoppers and community members to have to endure uncleaned streets. Unfortunately, we cannot continue cleaning efforts through our contracted partner, Friends of Germantown Northwest, LLC without revenue to support the services past July 12, 2019. GSSD will have a virtual office after July 15, 2019. Please contact info@germantownssd.com if you require assistance.

We are committed to the Germantown community. We have received support from a number of community stakeholders. We remain hopeful that this community will embrace efforts to work together and focus on building, supporting and engaging in practices that help Germantown thrive.

Yours in Partnership, The GSSD Board