Over the past year, our City has worked diligently to continue to improve the lives of Philadelphians. From removing over one million pounds of trash and debris from our streets through the City’s Mechanical Cleaning Pilot Program to opening more than 140 spraygrounds and pools this past summer, our administration is focused on delivering services and programs that enrich every neighborhood across our city.
Today, Mayor Kenney shared his eighth proposed Five Year Financial Plan, covering Fiscal Years 2024-2028. It will serve as a guide through the end of the Kenney Administration and provide a strong foundation for years to come.
The proposed budget for fiscal year 2024 and our Five-Year Financial and Strategic Plan represents not only a commitment to continuing to address Philadelphia’s biggest challenges but also the hope that Philadelphians will continue to see our city improve and thrive in unprecedented ways.
As we prepared this year’s budget proposal, the City held a comprehensive and inclusive public engagement process regarding City spending. We held over 30 community engagement sessions with residents, business owners, non-profits, arts and culture organizations, and frontline City employees. Their insight into Philadelphia’s needs and vision for our city were used as a guide to create our FY24 budget.
Top priorities for the Kenney Administration’s final term include:
- Public safety.
- Thriving neighborhoods.
- Inclusive economic growth.
Below are some highlights from the FY24 budget proposal and the Five Year Plan.
Investing in quality education
School District of Philadelphia
Mayor Kenney is building on the historic commitments to public education that he has made over his two terms by investing nearly $1.4 billion over the life of the FY24-28 Five Year Plan in the School District of Philadelphia, in addition to local tax revenues that support the District. FY24 includes $282 million in funding for the School District of Philadelphia, which represents a 171% increase from FY16 when Mayor Kenney came into office.
Community College of Philadelphia and Catto Scholarship
We’ll also invest more than $51 million in the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) in FY24, with $11.6 million dedicated to the Octavius Catto Scholarship. This program enables first-time students to attend college tuition-free, and with the supports they need like food, books, and transportation stipends to successfully earn their degree. Today, over 1,400 students have enrolled through this opportunity. Additionally, the City will provide $15 million for capital needs at CCP.
Free, quality pre-K and Community Schools
We’re going to continue the expansion of the PHLpreK program, supported by revenue from the Philadelphia Beverage Tax. Since launching in 2017 PHLpreK has benefited more than 13,000 children and counting. We propose 950 new pre-K seats to be funded this year, for a total of 5,250 seats, providing free and high-quality early learning services that lay a critical foundation for children and families.
The budget will also fund increased staffing in large Community Schools to provide expanded engagement with families as well as more supportive services for students and their families.
Libraries are essential community assets offering information, connection, and educational programs to all residents, and this plan will invest an additional $51.3 million over five years to stabilize and expand service levels to reach six-day service at neighborhood library branches, which provide vital information and programs to all residents.
During the pandemic, the City worked with a number of partners to launch PHLConnectED — a program that has provided over 22,500 free internet connections for student households. This Plan will invest $8.3 million, paired with new federal resources, that will continue to address barriers to internet access and digital devices.
Learn more about the core strategies we are implementing to build on our successes and further improve access and affordability of broadband internet and devices in our 5-year Digital Equity Plan.
Keeping residents safe
This budget continues critical investments in the City’s violence prevention plan, Roadmap to Safer Communities. With the full set of violence prevention investments — including long-term investments like education — the administration is committing $233 million to help make our communities safer and reduce violence. Some of these investments include:
- An additional $1.38 million over five years to provide stipends to participants in the Group Violence Intervention (GVI) program — an evidence-based approach that aims to reduce a specific type of gun violence: violence that involves members of neighborhood groups. A recent evaluation by a University of Pennsylvania researcher found this strategy effective in reducing group-member involved shootings.
- $14.7 million over five years dedicated to the Philadelphia Police Department’s Office of Forensic Science, to support evidence processing and investigations. These investments will complement $50 million in funding for a new state-of-the-art forensic lab and help enhance the Department’s ability to solve violent crime and further improve its homicide clearance rate, which increased from 42 percent in 2021 to 47 percent in 2022.
- $9.2 million over five years to support Operation Pinpoint, which deploys additional police resources to the places where violent crimes occur the most. The Police Department conducted a significant redeployment of officers at the beginning of 2023. The proposed budget also includes $1 million over five years to support recruitment and help the department hire a diverse pool of qualified candidates.
- $25 million over five years will be allotted to the District Attorney’s Office to sustain their critical work on investigations and prosecutions. The Plan also commits $25 million to the Defender Association of Philadelphia to provide quality legal services and support for vulnerable Philadelphians in the criminal justice system.
We remain committed to enhancing the quality of life across the City by making safe, clean streets and neighborhood assets like parks, recreation centers, and libraries a reality for all Philadelphians. The FY24 budget reflects key investments ranging from parks and libraries to housing and environmental justice.
Helping our neighborhoods flourish
The FY24 budget will commit $47.5 million to Rebuild, this Administration’s historic investment in transforming Philadelphia neighborhood parks, libraries, and playgrounds. These investments will help the program reach our stated goal of ensuring that at least 80% of Philadelphia’s low-income families live near a recently renovated park or playground.
Making recreation centers more accessible
The FY24 budget will invest $1.7 million in the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation inclusion plan which ensures that facilities are more accessible and welcoming to all residents. This will continue the planned investments that will make it possible for all City recreation centers to offer weekend hours.
Creating affordable and stable housing
Safe and stable housing is a critical foundation for health. The Five Year Plan will invest $29 million into eviction prevention, including expanding the Right to Counsel program which guarantees free legal assistance with eviction proceedings for low-income residents in the zip codes most affected by evictions.
The City will also dedicate $6.7 million over five years to create 100 new supportive housing units and $3.16 million in that time to operate the City’s first tiny house community. These new investments will be added to the planned $400 million investments planned under the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative.
Street sweeping and cleaning
The FY24 budget includes funds for 75 miles of street paving and further expansion of street sweeping. The street sweeping program will expand to six new neighborhoods for a total of 20. The Streets Department will also get $1.8 million to stand up a fourth crew to respond to illegal dumping.
Addressing the overdose crisis and neighborhood challenges
FY24 will see the continuation of the integral work of the Opioid Response Unit and supporting departments in their efforts to address the overdose crisis and support residents in the hardest-hit areas. The City will use funding from the national opioid settlements to fund community-driven planning and solutions, expand outreach and engagement to promote harm reduction, and reduce barriers to treatment through mobile support.
Mitigating environmental hazards
In FY24 the City will continue to advance policies and programs to mitigate environmental hazards, especially in communities of color that have disproportionately carried the costs of environmental harms. Over five years the City will provide $1 million to support the Environmental Justice Advisory Commission’s work and provide direct funding to communities working to address environmental injustice. The City will also commit $20 million towards the plan for FDR Park, which is the first park plan in Philadelphia to factor in anticipated effects of climate change such as flooding.
Inclusive growth and opportunity
Philadelphia’s continued growth will provide opportunities for our residents and future generations. The city’s poverty rate is at a 15-year low, and our municipal bond rating is the highest it has been in 40 years. To cushion the City and residents against broader economic instability and promote equitable growth, the FY24 budget will offer relief to low-income households, support businesses and workers, and strengthen the City’s financial position. Some of these offerings include:
Zero-fare transit programs
Making transit systems better, faster, and more affordable is crucial for sustainable, inclusive growth and equity in cities. Over the next two years, the FY24 budget will commit $80 million to pilot two SEPTA fare programs promoting ridership.
A new zero-fare program will serve at least 25,000 Philadelphia residents near or below the poverty level, allowing them to take trips anywhere on the SEPTA system.
The City of Philadelphia will also join other large employers in the region participating in the SEPTA Key Advantage Program, and offer free transit to all City of Philadelphia employees.
Reducing wage and business taxes
The FY24 budget will include reductions to the Wage and Business Taxes, which are already at the lowest rates in decades.
To further support businesses and boost employment opportunities, the FY24 budget will continue its support for the Quality Jobs incentive program, which will provide grants to businesses that create new, quality jobs accessible to all Philadelphians.
This Administration will continue to make investments to help Philadelphia to become a city that is thriving and provides opportunities that are open to all residents.