Mayor Kenney announces proposed budget

Mayor Jim Kenney
Charles Mostoller

Mayor Jim Kenney announced his proposed budget for the fiscal year 2021. Kenney also announced his Five-Year Financial and Strategic Plan to help Philly take on it’s biggest challenges.

Kenney emphasized that this budget does not call for a tax rate increase. It does call for small cuts to the wage and business tax rates, according to a release. Additionally, the city is setting funds aside to prepare for a possible economic downturn.

The administration has also announced its first-ever contributions to the city’s Rainy Day Fund. They set aside some money for potential cuts in federal or state funding. The fund includes $316 million or 6 percent of the city’s spending.

When it comes to the budget, Kenney is planning on focusing on the following issues— assessing the city’s gun violence epidemic, expanding access to quality education, repairing roads and designing safer streets, supporting neighborhoods, and improving government services.

Gun Violence

When it comes to gun violence, it’s become a huge priority for the administration. The city is planning on providing an additional $8 million a year to help with implementing evidence-based and community-informed strategies for part of the Philadelphia Roadmap for Safer Communities, according to a release.

The budget will also support $5.7 million for tech and staff to expand Operation Pinpoint. According to arcgis.com, PinPoint is “A multifaceted crime-fighting and information sharing strategy designed to identify, collect, analyze, disseminate information, and coordinate operational planning.”

A release states that the Pinpoint program is starting to show results in target areas. There has been a 27 percent decrease in homicide in those areas.

The city is also planning on expanding the Community Crisis Intervention Program. This funds a rapid response team, as well as expanding programs to help youth employment.

Body cameras will be expanded as well. Officials are planning on hiring more public safety enforcement officers.

They are also investing in programs to help improve training on racial bias.

Additionally, the city is planning on investing $2 million in transitional jobs programming that has reduced crime in other cities across the country.

A release states that most crime comes from poverty and lack of opportunity; they will provide job training to residents that are at a higher risk of being involved in violence.

Education 

Metro reported that the city is planning on making Community College of Philadelphia a school of choice but making it more affordable and accessible to all students.

The five-year plan is to invest $63 million in the Octavius Catto Scholarship. The goal is to improve the graduation rate in the city. The plan is to also help eliminate the gap with remaining tuition balance and financial aid.

Fixing roads and creating safer streets

The city is planning on investing $240 million in the street paving over a six-year period.

Philly will also continue to invest in the Capital Program and the Five-Year Plan.

The city will also continue to peruse it’s vision zero goals, which include 40 miles of protected bike lanes in the city by 2025.

Supporting neighborhoods

The PHLRentAssist program is investing around $33 million over the next five years to stabilize households. It focuses on households that include low-income working families with youth aging out of foster care, low-income working families, and more.

The city’s plan also includes giving $115 million over seven years to the Housing Trust Fund.

The proposed budget also includes wage increases for the Department of Human Services’ youth summer jobs program, a release states. Additionally, they already invested close to $8 million for the work-ready program.

The Parks and Recreation office will be getting an additional $1 million to help provide better community programming.

Enhancing government services

Philly is planning on investing $300 million in capital funding to help modernize government services. Some of those services include integrating and streamlining business processes across finance, procurement, and more, according to a release.

The city’s Office of Innovation and Technology will receive $22.5 million for applications used by departments and network infrastructure improvements. This will include services that can help modernize workflow and efficiency.

Philly is also looking into fines and fees and how they can been used more fairly. They want to start considering if someone can even afford to pay them.

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