City Planning sends proposed capital budget to mayor’s office

Philadelphia Planning Commissioners today approved a proposed six-year capital budget plan for Philadelphia, which allocates $9 billion from local, state, federal and private sources for projects in physical and technological infrastructure, community facilities and public buildings.

The plan includes 70 projects for fiscal year 2012, the coming budget year, at a cost of $3.1 billion in city, state, private, federal funds.  The total six-year plan calls for the city to borrow nearly $540 million through new general-obligation bonds.

The capital budget plan was prepared by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission staff. “Under the city charter, it is our responsibility to prepare it and send to the mayor,” said PCPC Executive Director Gary Jastrzab.  Jastrzab’s staff worked collaboratively with the director of finance, the department of public property and other administration entities “to craft this very complicated document,” he said. The budget and the related ordinances that city council needs to pass to put it into effect have gone to the mayor’s office, Jastrzab said.

“In keeping with the City Administration’s priorities, the FY2012-2017 Capital Program includes projects that help to achieve the following goals: For Philadelphia to become one of the safest cities in America; to improve the well-being of Philadelphians; to make Philadelphia a place of choice; to become the greenest city in America; and for City government to work efficiently and effectively, with integrity and responsiveness,” says the introduction to the budget document.

Think of the six-year proposal as you would a weather forecast; the farther out in time it goes, the more likely it is to change.

Here’s a sampling of some of the included projects. To see them all, and view the entire document, go here.

More than $5.8 million in new City, federal, state, and private funding is recommended for plans and improvements along the Central and North Delaware River and Schuylkill River waterfronts. About $3.5 million in new City funding is recommended for parks and recreation and the managing director’s pffice to plant park and street trees and to implement projects to advance recommendations of Green2015, an action plan for 500 acres of new publicly accessible open space.

The Free Library system is in line for $1.5 million in Fiscal Year 2012, to be used for interior and exterior renovations and HVAC systems; $3.5 million is recommended to continue funding an electronic health records system at the health department at $12.5 million is proposed to fund improvements to rec centers, pools and parks infrastructure.

More than $10.6 million is recommended for improvements to police facilities, including construction of a new Swat/Bomb Squad/K9 facility and conversion of two former U.S. Army facilities for police use.  More than $3.4 million is proposed for improvements to fire department facilities.

Jastrzab said he expects Mayor Michael Nutter to introduce the ordinances that go with the budget document to council on Thursday when he delivers his budget message. Budget hearings generally take two weeks, with a day dedicated entirely to the capital budget. Hearings will take place later this month.

Contact the reporter at kgates@planphilly.com

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