Majority Leader Fought for and Secured Increased Investments for her Philadelphia Neighborhood Safety and Community Policing Plan
PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 16, 2022 – Majority Leader Cherelle L. Parker (9th District) voted last night to give first approval of the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget that both provides much-needed public safety funds to address gun violence and improves quality-of-life for all Philadelphians. In addition to supporting the $184 million in anti-violence spending proposed by the administration, the Councilmember successfully secured more funding for police recruitment and to address quality-of-life issues like abandoned cars, street lighting, illegal dumping, and road and pedestrian safety.
“I want every Philadelphian to know that I hear them, and I am fighting for them in City Hall,” said Majority Leader Parker. “This was not an easy budget. We are approving property tax relief measures to mitigate the effects of the reassessments. We are approving reductions in wage and business taxes – to provide badly-needed relief to small neighborhood businesses. The spending in this budget will go a long way to address critical public safety and quality-of-life needs while making it clear that our City is open for business.”
Majority Leader Parker’s Philadelphia Neighborhood Safety and Community Policing Plan was released on March 30th and provided a framework for a holistic approach needed to combat the increase in violent crime. The heart of her Plan was a call for an additional 300 police officers responsible for “community policing,” which includes bike patrol and walking the beat in our communities. The additional quarter-million dollars the Majority Leader secured in the FY23 budget for police recruitment will go a long way in filling police officer vacancies. Unless and until we solve our recruitment and retention challenges and fill the vacancies with the Police Department, we cannot have true community policing.
Additionally, Majority Leader Parker secured the following funding for quality-of-life improvements that were called for in her Safety Plan:
- More Security Cameras – $2.5 million more for camera enhancement, $600,000 more for broadband study for cameras, and $950,000 more for police staff to watch cameras.
- Additionally, money was secured for the installation of 100 security cameras near schools most impacted by gun violence. Ninety-four students were shot this school year. Children must have safe passage to their schools.
- Removal of Abandoned Cars – $2 million more for abandoned vehicle removal to help improve the quality of life on blocks where cars have been sitting for too long.
- Increased L&I Enforcement – $1 million more for L&I’s Clean & Seal and demolitions in Operation Pinpoint areas. Drug dealers and traffickers routinely stash weapons and drugs in abandoned properties. Cleaning and sealing, and in some cases demolishing, these properties will help deter criminal activity.
- More Street Lighting – $1 million more for lighting improvements and repairing broken streetlights across the City. Streetlights are not only a quality-of-life issue, but a matter
- of public safety too. After all, many criminal acts flourish in darkness.
- Neighborhood Cleaning/Illegal Dumping – An additional $2 million for illegal trash dumping clean-ups and investigations to stop the proliferation of trash in our communities.
- Improved Road and Pedestrian Safety – $5 million more for traffic calming measures, which can slow the speed of vehicles, prevent crashes, and protect pedestrians.
- $184 million in anti-violence prevention money, which will provide programmatic funding for trusted messengers working with grassroots, community-based, and non-profit service providers.
The ~$5.6 billion budget also includes significant initiatives that will mitigate property tax reassessments. Without such interventions, increased property taxes threatened to impact homeowners in Black and Brown communities. Ever advocating for the preservation of homes, Majority Leader Parker championed increasing the homestead exemption to $80,000, up from $45,000. Majority Leader Parker also supported reductions in wage and business taxes to provide badly-needed relief to small neighborhood businesses. She has also secured $1 million specifically earmarked to aid Black and Brown barbershops and beauty salons.
Other successful budget inclusions that Majority Leader Parker fought for include:
- More funding to ensure better enforcement of Parker’s Walter P. Lomax, Jr., Transparency in Business Act (WPL-TIBA)
- Increased funding to the Free Library, Mural Arts, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (for Same Day Pay Program), and Parks & Recreation
- More funding for PEPP, Right to Counsel, Eviction Diversion, and PHL Rent Assist to provide housing security for residents recovering from the pandemic
- More funding for public defenders