July 25: City officials decline raise | Woes in Detroit, Chicago add to city’s debt | Bicycle funding at risk | Archdiocese property auction | Sandy aid goes to rental units | Mobile food truck gets $50K boost

Hello, Eyes on the Street. Can you believe it’s already Thursday?

Mayor Nutter and 10 other elected officials are declining a 1.3 percent cost-of-living pay increase that went into effect in July. Thirteen officials are hanging on to the extra cash. 

Detroit’s bankruptcy and Chicago’s sinking municipal pension fund mean Philadelphia will end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars more in interest costs for the next 20 years. Financial trouble in the two cities could add a quarter of a percent to the interest rate the city will pay on its $197 million bond offering. That could add around $500,000 a year to the annual debt service cost, but the addition is more than offset because Philadelphia’s credit rating has improved enough in recent years to save about $900,000 a year in interest costs.

Senator Rand Paul has introduced an amendment to the Transportation Appropriations bill that would prohibit any money from being used for transportation alternatives (aka bike and pedestrian projects). Instead that money would go toward bridge repair. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is urging people to speak out against Paul’s plan.  

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia and some of its parishes attempted to auction off seven properties Wednesday. One property sold before the auction, and three others failed to meet the minimum bid. According to NewsWorks, the Archdiocese officials are still happy with the results and plan to use the proceeds to help the archdiocese cut its deficit. In total the auction raised $995,000.

New Jersey will use $70 million of its federal Sandy aid to help repair rental units damaged by the storm, NewsWorks reported. Through the Landlord Rental Repair Program, New Jersey will offer grants of up to $50,000 for repairs, reconstruction or elevating rental units. The landlords must agree to rent to low-and moderate- income families. This caveat is expected to help about 1,500 renters as well as the landlords. 

The Food Bank of Delaware received another $50,000 from Bank of America for its mobile food pantry truck. Since March the truck has been distributing food to families as it travels up and down the state. Within the year, the truck is expected to provide 780,000 meals to people in need. In the past three years, Bank of America has donated more than $400,000 to the Food Bank of Delaware. 

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