City Council Approves Mayor’s Operating Budget and Five Year Plan
Beyond New School Funding, Approval Includes Crucial New Investments in Homeowner Protections, Public Safety, the Opioid Crisis, and Cleaner Streets
PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney today welcomed City Council’s final approval of the FY19 Operating Budget, FY19 Capital Budget, and FY19-23 Five-Year Plan, and FY19-24 Capital Program that commit to vital new investments in a host of areas crucial to residents and other taxpayers.
“I applaud City Council members for working with us over the last few months in productive discussions on important issues like criminal justice, opioids, and workforce development,” said Mayor Kenney. “As many residents struggle amid rampant poverty, it is crucial that we work together do more with our limited resources. This budget and Five Year Plan demonstrate that we can.”
In addition to new school funding, the budget includes the following key investments:
- Increasing the homestead exemption from $30,000 of assessed value to $40,000, which will reduce the tax burden on Philadelphia homeowners in light of growing home values.
- $2.5 million investment over five years in foreclosure prevention programs.
- FY19 increased funding of $3.8 million to the Philadelphia Land Bank.
Investing in Public Safety:
- $2 million annual increase in demolition funding for the Department of Licenses and Inspections, to permit the Department to demolish up to 650 unsafe properties, focusing on those imminently dangerous structures
- $54 million over 5 years to the Fire Department to support a total of 2,661 positions, a 24% increase in Fire’s personnel budget since Mayor Kenney took office.
- Staffing investments include paramedics and firefighters, but also managerial positions, dedicated training and health/safety positions, and a full-time Medical Director.
- Annual capital investments of $10 million to replace Fire vehicles, including ambulances, engines and ladders.
- Funding for a Fire Logistics Hub, which will include training space, vehicle storage, and a central location for operational command.
- Almost $100 million over 5 years to the Police Department to grow the number of sworn police officers to 6,525 and to fund that staffing level throughout the Plan.
- Capital and 911 funding for the renovation of a building to house the 911 Training Center.
- Funding for the relocation of Police Headquarters to 400 N. Broad Street.
- $7.6 million is included for the District Attorney’s Office over 5 years, to support reform efforts in regard to staffing and technology systems, as well as initiatives such as The Choice is Yours felony diversion program.
- Increased funding for programs in line with the grant provided by the MacArthur Foundation is also included in the Plan, such as funding for Community Resource Centers.
- Increased funding for Police Assisted Diversion, an important tool in the City’s multi-pronged effort to reduce incarceration, lessen racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system, and fight the opioid epidemic.
- Increased funding for the “Stepping Up” program, a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails.
- New funding for the Office of Violence Prevention for micro-grants to small community-based organizations that support violence prevention, as well as support for a community-based organization that will hire crisis responders.
Safer and Cleaner Streets:
- $60 million of multi-year operating and capital investments for the Streets Department to support the goal of Vision Zero by redesigning streets and sidewalks and incorporating traffic calming measures (such as delineators and speed cushions).
- Operating and capital dollars will enable the Streets Department to reach the goal of resurfacing and paving 131 miles annually, by the end of the Capital Program, getting to a state of good repair.
- Expanded grants staff for the Streets Department will enable the Department to access and utilize more external grant funding for capital projects, stretching local taxpayer resources even further.
- Capital funds will allow for the replacement of additional trash compactors, allowing the City to be on a full compactor replacement schedule in the next 4-5 years.
Stemming the Opioid Crisis:
- Almost $25 million to tackle the most significant public health crisis the City has ever faced. This funding includes funding for housing options for people who are addicted and homeless; $1M in annual funds to support the “Hub of Hope” in Center City, which provides daytime respite and needed services to individuals on the street; funds for the distribution of naloxone by City agencies and community partners to directly save lives from overdoses; and other crucial investments. An additional $1.5 million was added for 3 years for additional homeless respite in high-need neighborhoods.
Improving Child Welfare:
- $1.5 million in annual investments, matched with almost $9 million of federal and state grants, for the Department of Human Services. This would fund increases for foster care providers, which would allow for additional staff to focus on parent recruitment, screening and training. This funding would also fund expanded Family Empowerment Services, including the addition of 16 additional case managers.
- $2 million increase for the Community College of Philadelphia in FY19, allowing the College to keep tuition as low as possible. The College will continue workforce training and increase the ability of Philadelphia students to gain critical skills — programs that are aligned with “Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine,” the City’s cross-functional, citywide workforce strategy.
- Additional investments in the Office of Fleet Management apprenticeship program.
- Increasing the wages of seasonal employees within the Department of Parks and Recreation to a living wage.
- Continuing funding for the Fair Chance Hiring Initiative, which provides grants to employers to encourage the hiring of returning citizens.