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WEEKLY REPORT – MAYOR SIGNS FY 2025 BUDGET INTO LAW

In Anthony Phillips, Brian O'Neill, Council Meetings, 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

City Council of Philadelphia Weekly Report logo

MAYOR SIGNS FY 2025 BUDGET INTO LAW

Surrounded by Philadelphia City Councilmembers, Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker signed into law the $6.37 billion Fiscal Year 2025 (FY ’25) Operating Budget, $5.46 billion FY ’25 Capital Budget covering the Fiscal Years 2025-2030, and a bill that will raise the City’s Homestead Exemption from the current $80,000 to $100,000.

Council unanimously approved those bills during the June 13 City Council session, the final session before its summer recess.

“I want to thank Mayor Cherelle Parker, Council’s leadership team and every member of City Council for working together to create Operating and Capital Budgets that will move Philadelphia forward,” Council President Kenyatta Johnson said.

He continued, “This budget prioritizes everyday Philadelphians and that makes investments in solving our city’s most pressing issues. We believe the investments in this budget will make significant strides toward our common goal of creating safe, healthy, and prosperous communities for all Philadelphians.”

The final FY ‘25 Operating and Capital budgets, the first for both Parker as Mayor and Johnson as Council President, were the results of weekslong negotiations between Council leadership, councilmembers and the Parker Administration.

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In the FY ‘25 Budget, City Council members successfully advocated for the following to benefit all Philadelphians:

  • Additional money for violence prevention grants. Council added an additional $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. This will help thousands of people pay lower property taxes in the upcoming years; and 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).
  • $19 million in additional funding for rental assistance. This is combined with the current $15 million in the Housing Trust Fund for a total of $34 million for rental assistance.
  • An additional $5 million in the Philadelphia Energy Authority’s Built to Last program. This will help the city ease issue of gentrification and help people fix up and stay in their homes.
  • 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.
  • $750,000 in additional funding for tangled title support in the Register of Wills.
  • 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.
  • An additional $5 million in operating support for the Community College of Philadelphia.
  • 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 — $8 million in funding to support parents who work for the City of Philadelphia, spearheaded by Majority Leader Katherine Gilmore Richardson (At-Large).
  • 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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Items also in the final FY ‘25 Operating and Capital Budgets that were proposed by Mayor Parker and highlighted by the Administration are the following:

  • Hiring 400 Police Officers; increasing the size and frequency of recruiting classes.
  • $10 million to support workforce development and employer partnerships that include commitments to employment. The funding will be used to train Philadelphians for careers in industries that are already thriving and those that are projected to grow, including the building trades, logistics, and life sciences and biotech.
  • Increase in millage share that goes to the School District from 55 to 56 percent. The One Philly budget makes over $24 million in new investments in the District for FY ‘25, and nearly $129 million over the Five-Year Plan.
  • Supporting K-12 schools: Provides young people with extended-day, extended-year enrichment and career development opportunities; and addresses the urgent need for school facilities improvement.
  • Housing production and preservation: Continuing investment in housing through programs like Turn the Key; Restore Repair Renew; and Basic Systems Repair Program (BSRP) – building towards the Mayor’s goal of 30,000 units of housing built, repaired, or preserved.
  • Housing preservation: Making it easier for residents and landlords to access City-funded home improvement programs through a Single Home Improvement Application (SHIA).

Fiscal Year ’25 budget bills approved by Council are available for review here. FY ‘25 starts July 1.


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A BUSY FIRST SIX MONTHS FOR THE NEW CITY COUNCIL WRAPPED UP ON JUNE 13

The final City Council session before the start of summer recess lasted for nearly five hours and Council President Johnson said 107 pieces of legislation (55 bills and 52 resolutions) were approved during the June 13 meeting.

Below, the following bills and resolutions approved during the session, among others:

  • Resolution #240585 (introduced by Councilmember Gilmore Richardson, At Large on behalf of Council President Johnson) authorizing the Council President to initiate appeals by City Council of decisions of the Zoning Board of Adjustment in certain circumstances and to retain legal counsel in connection with such appeals.
  • Resolution #240598 (introduced by Councilmember Kendra Brooks, At-Large) condemning the use of school voucher programming as harmful to the School District of Philadelphia.
  • Resolution #240604 (introduced by Councilmember Nina Ahmad, At-Large) calling upon the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services and its contracted service providers to collect pregnancy status data at intake.
  • Bills #240179, #240180,#240181, #240182, and #240492 (introduced by Gilmore Richardson on behalf of President Johnson) approving the Fiscal Year 2025 Operating and Capital Budgets, homestead exemption increase and an increase in the tax that the Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia is authorized to impose on real estate.
  • Bill #240058 (introduced By Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, 3rd District) amending Section 14-702 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Floor Area, Height, and Dwelling Unit Density Bonuses,” to add requirements related to the use of payments in lieu of building affordable housing to receive floor area, building height and dwelling unit density bonuses; and amending Section 14-533, entitled “/MIN, Mixed Income Neighborhoods Overlay District,” to add requirements related to the use of payments in lieu of building affordable housing to satisfy certain minimum affordable housing building requirements.
  • Bill #240466 (introduced by Councilmember Cindy Bass, 8th District, for President Johnson) amending Section 14-303(14) of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Public Hearings of the Zoning Board of Adjustment,” to change the number of board members required for a quorum or for action taken at a Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing.

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  • Bill #240379 (introduced by Gilmore Richardson) amending Title 17 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Contracts and Procurement,” to modify the requirements for contracts with not-for-profit vendors.
  • Bill #240428-A (introduced by Councilmember Jeffery Young, 5th District) prohibiting the Commissioner of Public Property, or any other official of the City of Philadelphia (the “City”) acting on behalf of the City from entering into, executing, or authorizing a lease extension, lease amendment, lease renewal or new agreement by and between the City and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for or on behalf of any Commonwealth Department or Agency, at the property located at 2100 W. Girard Avenue 9the former Philadelphia Nursing Home).
  • Bill #240434 (introduced by Councilmember Mark Squilla, 1st District) amending Chapter 12-3400 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Use of An Automated Speed Enforcement System to Improve Safety on Roosevelt Boulevard,” by providing for the use, administration and enforcement of automated speed cameras on Broad Street.
  • Bill #240475 (introduced by Squilla and Councilmember Brian O’Neill, 10th District) amending Chapter 12-900 (“Parking Regulations and Penalties”) and Chapter 12-2800 (“Administrative Adjudication of Parking Violations”) of The Philadelphia Code to add prohibitions and penalties related to parking certain large vehicles, including boats, motor homes, house coaches, house trailers, truck campers, recreational cargo trailers, and recreational trailers.
  • Bill #240371 (introduced by Councilmember Anthony Phillips, 9th District) amending Title 4 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “The Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code,” by amending Subcode “PM” (The Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code), to add restrictions and remedies regarding encroaching trees.
  • Bills #240414 and #240468 (introduced by Phillips), #240474 (introduced by Councilmember Mike Driscoll, 6th District) and #240476 (introduced by Bass) that impose late-night curfews on businesses in certain commercial areas in their legislative districts.
  • Bill #240018 (introduced by Councilmembers Nicolas O’Rourke, At-Large, on behalf of Councilmember Kendra Brooks, At-Large, and others) amending Title 9 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Regulation of Businesses, Trades and Professions,” by providing for the licensing of persons responsible for performing tenant evictions at residential properties.

All Bills now go to Mayor Parker’s desk for consideration. Bills can either be vetoed, sign it into law or allow it to become law without her signature. Visit Council’s Legislative Information Center website for information on Council bills and resolutions.


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PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCILMEMBERS JOIN MAYOR PARKER URGING PENNSYLVANIA STATE SENATE TO APPROVE FAIR FUNDING LEGISLATION FOR PHILADELPHIA SCHOOLS

Members of Philadelphia City Council, Mayor Parker, School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. Tony Watlington Sr, and other education advocates held a press conference earlier this week urged the Pennsylvania Senate to approve increase funding for school districts throughout the Commonwealth.

The group of 15 charter, public school, and union leaders — led by Mayor Parker and Council President Johnson — sent a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and state legislators saying that Philadelphia needs House Bill 2370, known as the fair funding formula for education, to become law. The bill was approved by the Pennsylvania House and is now in the Pennsylvania Senate.

If the bill is approved by the Senate and signed into law by the governor, it will provide $242 million more for the School District of Philadelphia next year and nearly $1.4 billion more over the next seven years. The call for additional school funding is supported by Councilmember Isaiah Thomas, chair of Council’s Education Committee.

Also, this week, Councilmembers Brooks, Thomas, O’Rourke, and Gauthier visited the State Capitol in Harrisburg to join members of the Philadelphia Senate and House delegations in advocating for full funding of public schools and against the expansion of private school vouchers which would disproportionately impact the funding of the School District of Philadelphia.


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COUNCIL OFFICES WILL CONTINUE TO BE OPEN THIS SUMMER

As City Council sessions take a pause for the summer, Council offices remain open to help Philadelphia residents.

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) in 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.

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.

Also on June 17, Council’s Labor and Civil Service will hold a public hearing on the Mayor Cherelle Parker Administration’s proposed Return to Office Policy, and the impact on the City’s workforce. The hearing will start at 2 p.m. in City Council Chambers. Mayor Parker’s Administration required all City employees who were working out of the office since the start of the COVID Pandemic back in 2020 to transition to full-time, in-office work starting July 15.


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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

City Council wishes everyone a wonderful Father’s Day this Sunday, June 16.


COUNCIL STARTS WEEKLY SESSIONS AGAIN IN SEPTEMBER

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 5, 2024, at 10 a.m. It will be the first meeting of the start of the fall/winter term of City Council. The September 5 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.

City Council’s Communications team will continue to keep Philadelphians updated about important civic issues this summer. Stay tuned for regular e-newsletter updates and Saturday’s With City Council broadcast will continue on WURD Radio (900 AM/96.1FM in Philadelphia). The next Saturdays with City Council Broadcast will be Saturday, June 22 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Eastern Time.

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