Mayor Kenney’s Proposed Budget, in Brief
Two weeks ago, Mayor Jim Kenney released his proposed 2022-2023 budget, which totals $5.6 billion in spending. As negotiations begin, here’s a summary of the City’s 2022-23 budget as proposed:
- No Tax Increases: Despite a 5% overall increase in spending, city finance officials predict increased revenue from property assessments, as well as federal COVID-19 relief funds, will cover all increases in spending.
- Anti-violence funding remains a priority: The city’s elevated crime statistics show no sign of abating, and the new budget includes over $50 million in spending related to public safety. This includes nearly $30 million more for city sponsored anti-violence programming as well as a $24 million increase for the police department, a funding increase pushed by some members of City Council.
- Greater spending on education: The School District of Philadelphia is scheduled to receive $14 million more from the city next year. $2 million more is also allocated for the Community College of Philadelphia.
- Leaving pandemic aid on the table?: Some Councilmembers were quick to criticize the Kenney Administration for planning to spend $335 million in federal aid this year, leaving about $800 million for later years. Some say this money should be spent aggressively this year.
- Addressing housing shortages: Kenney’s budget calls for $27.9 million for the housing trust fund next year, totaling $145 million over the next five years.
- Restarting Business Growth: The Department of Commerce and Department of Innovation and Technology each see a $20 million funding increase.
- Infrastructure: The Kenney administration says a nearly $50 million overall funding increase for departments and programs related to transit will prepare the city for federal infrastructure funds, which will be distributed over the coming years.
It is now up to City Council and Mayor Kenney to hammer out a final budget before the start of the new fiscal year in July. For more, please click here.
Local Officials Urge State to Declare Emergency in Kensington
Mayor Kenney and City Councilmembers are asking Harrisburg to declare a state of emergency in the Kensington section of the city, saying city-led emergency declarations haven’t been as impactful as was hoped. A state-declared emergency can be initiated by the Governor, but further renewals must be made by the General Assembly. State emergency declarations also give the city access to broader state resources and capital.
Facing an Officer Shortage, Police Waives Residency Requirement for New Recruits
Philadelphia officials waived a requirement that new recruits to the Philadelphia Police live in the city at least one full year before joining the force. Although the City has had some sort of residency requirement for its employees since the 1950s, recruiters hope lifting the rule will help fill about 400 officer vacancies for the 6,400 member force.
City Reinstates Indoor Mask Requirement
Philadelphia Public Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole announced that masking will be required in indoor spaces starting next Monday, April 18th, after a 60% rise in COVID-19 cases citywide. Philadelphia is the first major U.S. city to reenact masking requirements after the Omicron wave.
Philadelphia City Council holds several hearings throughout the legislative calendar. You can watch the hearings here.
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