Ordinances Authorize $300M Borrowing Authority and Creates Governing Structure to Ensure Efficiency and Transparency
PHILADELPHIA – Alongside the City’s FY17-18 Operating Budget, Capital Budget and 5-Year Fiscal Plan, the Kenney Administration also introduced today two ordinances to authorize $300 million in borrowing and create a governance structure for Rebuild. Rebuild is the multi-year program to revitalize neighborhood parks, recreation centers, playgrounds, and libraries across the city. The bonds will not be issued until the Philadelphia Beverage Tax litigation is fully resolved, though, pending the approval of the governance structure, the City will move forward with the program this summer with existing capital funds.

“I’m glad to present these bills to advance Rebuild, as the urgency of needs for our parks, recreation centers and libraries increases,” said Mayor Kenney.  “These ordinances are a result of a partnership with City Council and a shared commitment to making our city’s public spaces better for all Philadelphians and reaching our goals for diversity and economic opportunity.”

Under the proposed structure, a public authority, the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID), would issue $300 million in bonds for Rebuild. The City would then enter into leases with PAID for parks, recreation centers, and libraries identified as Rebuild sites. PAID would then sublease Rebuild sites to a small number of “project users” that desire to construct improvements at individual sites. After the approval of the ordinances, the administration will use a competitive RFQ process to select the project users that will help deliver Rebuild projects.

The proposed governance structure takes into account feedback provided by City Council on previous draft ordinances.

“In the past, the City has successfully partnered with non-profit stakeholders to launch and operate large-scale infrastructure improvement projects like Rebuild,” said Councilman At-Large Derek Green.  “Considering the importance of this undertaking, this structure will help ensure Rebuild’s success.”

“The proposed governing structure allows for Rebuild to get done the smart way – efficiently, on-time and in keeping with all the goals of the initiative,” said Councilman Bobby Henon, 6th District.

“Philadelphia’s neighborhoods are ready for Rebuild! This governance structure further ensures community input plays an integral part of Rebuild, while spurring accelerated implementation,”  said George Matysik, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance. “Our parks, rec centers and libraries are in desperate need of improvement – we can’t afford a model that will make this process a second slower than it needs to be. Our communities need this investment now.”

The ordinance outlines that the city is looking for project users who have a long-term interest in the site, experience with capital management, experience with fundraising, experience with community engagement, and a commitment to diverse hiring.

The legislation will address the overarching goals of the Rebuild initiative over a 7-year period, including increasing diversity of the building trades, increasing the capacity of minority women owned businesses, creating community groups around the selected sites, and transforming neighborhoods.

“Rebuild is an unprecedented opportunity to level the playing field for minority-owned businesses in the construction industry,” said Steven Scott Bradley, Chairman, African American Chamber of Commerce for PA, NJ, DE. “Its project pipeline and business support program will allow minority contractors to build capacity and continue to thrive long after Rebuild ends.”

“I am pleased that the Administration is committed to making sure that diversity and inclusion are a centerpiece of Rebuild and not an afterthought,” said Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, 9th District.  “The family-sustaining job opportunities that will be created by Rebuild, particularly for people of color, are critical to the success of the initiative.”

Visit Rebuild.phila.gov for more information.

The budget documents, including the Operating Budget in Brief, the FY18 Capital Budget, and the Five Year Financial and Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2018-2022 are available here.