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WEEKLY REPORT – COUNCIL HAS REACHED AN AGREEMENT ON THE FISCAL YEAR 2025 OPERATING AND CAPITAL BUDGETS

In Anthony Phillips, Brian O'Neill, Cindy Bass, Council Meetings, Council News, Curtis Jones, Jr., Featured, Isaiah Thomas, James Harrity, Jamie Gauthier, Jeffery Young Jr., Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Kendra Brooks, Kenyatta Johnson, Mark Squilla, Michael Driscoll, Nicolas O'Rourke, Nina Ahmad, Quetcy Lozada, Rue Landau by Khara Garcia

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CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR CHERELLE PARKER REACH A TENTATIVE AGREEMENT ON A FISCAL YEAR 2025 BUDGET AGREEMENT

Philadelphia City Council and Mayor Cherelle Parker’s administration reached a tentative agreement this week on the Fiscal Year 2025 (FY ‘25) Operating and Capital Budgets. The legislation for both the Operating and Capital Budgets had a first reading at the June 6 Council session and will come up for final passage during the June 13 Council session.

Council President Kenyatta Johnson (Second District) says the final $6.37 Billion FY ’25 Operating Budget and $5.46 FY ’25 Capital Budget makes significant investments in critical programs and services while maintaining the City’s long-term fiscal health and advancing equitable outcomes for all Philadelphians.

Council’s Committee of the Whole heard six weeks of budget testimony from various City Departments and held multiple public hearings and neighborhood town hall meetings for taxpayers to provide input. Budget negotiations started in mid-May and ended earlier this week.

The FY ’25 Operating Budget includes funding for Mayor Parker’s key priorities, including additional resources for law enforcement, increased funding for priorities such as commercial corridor cleaning, and no tax increases.

City Council members successfully advocated for additional investments that will benefit all Philadelphians. Here are some of the highlights of the items Councilmembers were successful in negotiating to be added to the budget:

  • Additional money for violence prevention grants. Council advocated adding $4.8 million in funding, bringing the total amount up to $29 Million.
  • Raising the City’s Homestead Exemption from the current $80,000 to $100,000 dollars. This will help thousands of people pay lower property taxes in the upcoming years. It will also provide property tax relief since the city’s property tax assessments are expected to go up next year. Eligible homeowners will save $1,400 on their property tax bill.
  • Council won support for a new low-income property tax freeze, sponsored by Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (Third District).
  • Nineteen million dollars additional dollars for rental assistance. This is in addition to the $15 million already in the Housing Trust Fund for rental assistance.

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  • An additional $5 million in the Philadelphia Energy Authority’s Built to Last program. This will help the city with the issue of gentrification and help people fix up and stay in their homes.
  • The Philadelphia Horticultural Society will get a budget of $8.5 Million to address tree canopies throughout Philadelphia.
  • Redevelopment of U.C. Townhomes. The city will contribute $14 million to redevelop part of the site of the U.C. Townhomes, a former affordable housing complex in West Philadelphia. The money will result in the construction of 70 permanent, affordable units.
  • Recreation Centers and libraries get funding for upgrades. Council negotiated with the Parker Administration to borrow an additional $18 million in the Capital Budget for upgrades to recreation centers and libraries throughout the city.
  • Additional investment in the Mann Center and the Dell Music Center. The budget includes $1 million each for the Mann Center for the Performing Arts and the Dell Music Center, double the investment Mayor Parker had initially proposed.
  • Expanded paid parental leave for city employees — $7 million in funding to support parents who work for the city.
  • Mural Arts Philadelphia funding is restored — Mayor Parker had proposed cutting $1 million from the city’s $3.68 million allocation the city gave to Mural Arts last year. That $1 million has been restored to the organization’s allocation from the city.

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The final FY ‘25 budget must be approved by June 30. FY ‘25 starts on July 1.

Check out Mayor Parker’s budget address, Operating and Capital Budgets, proposed FY ‘25-30 Five Year Plan and other information at City Council’s FY’25 Budget Center.


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HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK DURING COUNCIL’S WEEKLY SESSION

This week, Philadelphia City Council approved:

Bill #240059 (introduced by Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, 3rd District), amending Title 19 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Finances, Taxes and Collections,” by adding a new Chapter 19-4600, entitled “Low-Income Tax Provisions,” providing for the refund or forgiveness of real estate tax liability of certain low-income residents attributable to real estate tax increases and increases in the assessed value of the taxpayer’s homestead, under certain terms and conditions.

Bill #240061 (Gauthier) would provide or the submission to the qualified electors of the City of Philadelphia of the proposal set forth in a Resolution approved by Council proposing an amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter further providing for mandatory annual appropriations for the Housing Trust Fund; and authorizing and directing the appropriate officers to publish notice and to make arrangements for the special election. This ballot question could be on this November’s general election ballot for consideration.

Bill #240280 (introduced by Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr., 4th District)—an Ordinance amending Chapter 10-2200 of the Philadelphia Code entitled “Hate Crimes,” to expand the scope of qualifying crimes, under certain terms and conditions.

Additional Ordinances/Bills approved were:

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Council also approved the following resolutions:

Resolution #240601 (introduced by Councilmember Mark Squilla, 1st District) authorizes Council’s Education Committee to hold hearings to examine the sudden closing of the University of the Arts (UArts).

Earlier this week, U Arts officials announced that the institution was closing for good after 150 years of operation on Friday, June 7. The UArts campus is located in both Squilla and Council President Johnson (Second) Council Districts. The resolution states the hearing will look at the impact of this sudden closing will have Philadelphia’s higher education system and the negative impact of the UArts student body and staff.

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SPECIAL BUSINESS:

Resolution #240603 (introduced by Councilmember Cindy Bass, 8th District) Requesting the Mayor to return to Council Bill No. 240336, for reconsideration by the Council of the vote by which said bill passed Council.

All of the Bills approved this week now go to Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker for her approval or veto. Council has one Stated Meeting left before summer recess starts on June 13.

Go to Council’s Legislative Information Center website for information on Council bills and resolutions.


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COUNCILMEMBER RUE LANDAU HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE THIS WEEK TO ANNOUNCE HER PRIDE PACKAGE

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month in the United States and around the world and commemorates the years of struggle for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equal justice under the law for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, as well as the accomplishments of LGBTQ individuals.

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Councilmember Rue Landau (At-Large), the first openly LGBTQ+ member of Philadelphia City Council in history, was joined at the event by a diverse group of elected officials including Mayor Parker and fellow Councilmembers Jeffery Young (5th District), Nina Ahmad (At-Large), Anthony Phillips (9th District), Kendra Brooks (At-Large) and Nicolas O’ Rourke (At-Large), to announce her Pride Package of legislation, which includes three resolutions:

  • Declaring June 2024 LGBTQIA+ Pride Month in the City of Philadelphia.
  • Declaring the City of Philadelphia’s commitment to protect and expand the rights and equal protections of all LGBTQIA+ Philadelphians in light of the recent increase in attempts to restrict the rights of Transgender people. (Resolution #240545)
  • Authorizing the Committee on Legislative Oversight to hold hearings examining disparities experienced by the LGBTQIA+ community and exploring solutions to achieving equity for LGBTQIA+ Philadelphians.

All three resolutions have been approved by City Council. The Legislative Oversite Committee hearing is scheduled to happen sometime this coming fall. The Pride package is meant to affirm City Council’s Commitment to protecting LGBTQ+ Philadelphians.


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THE PHILADELPHIA TAX REFORM COMMISSION WILL HOST ITS FIRST PUBLIC HEARING ON JUNE 17

The Philadelphia Tax Reform Commission will hold its first public hearing on Monday, June 17th from 10 a.m. to 12 noon in City Council Chambers, Room 400 (Fourth Floor) of Philadelphia City Hall. This hearing will allow the Tax Reform Commission to hear from the public about how changes to the tax code could better support equitable and inclusive economic growth and stability in Philadelphia.

Earlier this year, Council approved Resolution #240108, sponsored by President Johnson, to reconvene the Philadelphia Tax Reform Commission. The Commission’s primary role is to conduct a comprehensive analysis of all taxes imposed in Philadelphia and make recommendations for tax reform for a more inclusive, equitable, and growth-oriented tax system that supports economic opportunity for all. The Commission is accompanied by an Advisory Committee made up of appointees from various community organizations. This ensures a broad representation of Philadelphia’s diverse community interests. The group is tasked with offering an additional viewpoint to the 15 Commissioners.

Speakers interested in making public testimony at the June 17 hearing should email [email protected] by 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, June 16 (the day before the public hearing) and submit the following information:

  • Full name
  • A telephone number where you can be reached.

Please specify if you are providing comments as a member of a specific advocacy group or organization.


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LISTEN TO “SATURDAYS WITH CITY COUNCIL” ON WURD RADIO THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 8 FROM 10 AM-11 AM

Philadelphia City Council has a show on WURD Radio (900 AM/96.1 FM) several times a month called “Saturdays with Council.” The show features City Council members discussing issues impacting Philadelphia. The next show is Saturday, June 8 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and it will feature an interview with Councilmember Anthony Phillips (9th District). Listen to the show at 900 AM/96.1 FM in Philadelphia or at wurdradio.com.

Saturdays with City Council will continue to broadcast live shows in June, July, and August.


The City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 13, 2024, at 10 a.m. It will be the final meeting before Council takes summer recess from holding weekly meetings in June, July, and August. The June 13 meeting will take place in person in Council’s Chambers on the 4th floor of City Hall. It will also air on Xfinity Ch. 64, Fios Channel 40, and stream at www.PHLCouncil.com/watch.

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