Philadelphia City Planning Commission unanimously adopted the city’s new six-year capital program and budget

March 2, 2010

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission unanimously adopted the city’s new six-year capital program and budget in a special session on Tuesday, after an outline of the plan by Alan Urek of the PCPC’s Strategic Planning and Policy Division.

The capital program and budget, for fiscal years 2011 through 2016, calls for $103 million in new city tax supported funds, the biggest number in that category in more than a decade. Urek made it clear that the bigger city share for this cycle would act as a down payment for significant additional federal support.

The process, which involved the PCPC and the city’s Budget Office, spanned the last year.

Chris Donato, representing Finance Director Rob Dubow, has been working with the PCPC on its capital plans and was on hand Tuesday to field questions.

Urek opened his presentation by saying the mission of the agency is essentially to support the city’s larger goals by addressing the highest priority planning and commerce concerns.

The capital program and budget review covered 13 departments, including Licenses & Inspections, Commerce, the Planning Commission, the RDA and PIDC. Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, said he believed every department’s No. 1 priority item made it through the budget process.

According to its charter the Planning Commission is required to give a recommendation on the annual capital program and budget to the mayor within 120 days of the end of the fiscal year. Once the mayor approves it, the ordinance is sent to City Council for hearings.

The six-year capital program is the city’s plan for investing in core mission challenges such as Youth and Protecting the Most Vulnerable (parkland site improvement, Free Library improvements, recreational facility improvements).

But it also focuses on less quantitative measures, such as improvements to neighborhoods and quality-of-life issues, while supporting numerous other municipal government priorities. Examples are projects promoting the city’s public safety initiatives (GreenPlan Philadelphia, streets reconstruction and resurfacing), education, economic development and jobs (Philadelphia International Airport, Navy Yard infrastructure, waterfront improvements and SEPTA infrastructure), and government reform (sustainability, technology improvements traffic control, SEPTA customer service).

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Sources of funds include new city tax-supported funds (general obligation bonds floated by the city) and “carried-forward spending authorization” from previous years (also tax-supported, or repaid from the city’s general tax revenues), along with revolving funds and federal, state and private monies. The sources of all funds total $8 billion, with spending over time on 73 projects, and hundreds of “sub-projects.”

Contact the reporter at mgolas@design.upenn.edu

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