June 21: Council approves $3.8B budget | Bill to curb house theft | Region’s worst commutes | Delaware River dredging | Sovereign Bank gives North Philly $600,000 | PMA to regild “Diana” |

Happy Friday Street team. There’s a beautiful weekend ahead! 

City Council approved a $3.8 billion budget Thursday. The budget includes $190 million in new spending and $85 million to resolve contract disputes with three of the four main municipal unions. As for the School District’s financial woes, Council is waiting for the state to approve a $2-per-pack cigarette tax and hopes to get $28 million from delinquent taxpayers. 

Council also approved a bill that requires the Records Department to verify that the seller of a property matches the name of the owner listed in city records when the deed is recorded – imagine that. According to the Inquirer, questionable deeds will still be recorded but will get a “not certified” stamp to alert future buyers of potential fraud. The Records Department will notify authorities of such suspicious deeds.

A new report reveals the worst commutes in the region and finds that some Philly commuters spend as many as 125 hours-per-year sitting in traffic. That road time uses as much as 54 gallons of gas annually. Those who have it worst are the drivers traveling on I-676 from I-95 to I-76, an estimated 64,000 to 117,000 daily drivers, and the drivers traveling on Pa. Route 611 from the Turnpike to I-95.

The Delaware River dredging project is nearing completion, with 42 miles of the river dredged and another 25 miles remaining. The dredging will increase depths to 45 feet and, if all goes as planned, lead to larger ships and increased business. The project began in March 2010. So far the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority has spent $50.8 million and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent $70.5 million. 

Sovereign Bank announced plains to give $600,000 toward economic revitalization in North Philadelphia through a partnership with Nueva Esperanza, a faith-based organization that works with the Hispanic community. Over six years, the bank will give $100,000, some of which will go toward revitalization of the 5th Street business corridor. 

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s (PMA) Conservation and American Arts departments will regild the 13-foot “Diana” sculpture that sits in PMA’s Great Stair Hall. The Roman goddess statue was done by Augustus-Saint-Gaudens. The four-month regilding process will include removing the corrosion and laying 180-square-feet of gold leaf. The project is made possible by a grant from Bank of America. 

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