Last week, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said that a water bill indicating that she had apparently not turned on a tap or flushed a toilet at her official residence for several months was "erroneous." Additional Water Revenue Bureau documents that have surfaced, apparently through a porous bill pay website, seemed to show that Council President Darrell Clarke had not paid his water bill in years. Clarke's office immediately responded with information disputing the seemingly outstanding bill for his home on Jefferson Street in Kensington.
A few hours after his office was notified of the bill listing a balance of nearly $755, the City Paper received a copy of a signed letter from Revenue Department Commissioner Clarena Tolson to Clarke, apologizing for the Council President's account being erroneously charged.
"We regret that due to a problem in our system you had been incorrectly billed," Tolson said in the letter, which did not go into the specific nature of the error.
Where does Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell live? It seems like a simple question, but it might have a complicated answer.
An intrepid reader has furnished the City Paper with a copy of the water bill for 235 S. Melville St. in West Philadelphia, the official residence of the, let's say, mercurial councilmember according to campaign finance documents. According to the bill, no water has been used at that property for the past month. Moreover, it appears from the bill that no payments were made for the previous two months and that no water was used during that time.