Millions for Schools, Libraries, Violence Prevention in Philly Mayor's Budget

Mayor Jim Kenney laid out his 5-year vision for Philadelphia while revealing his spending plan for the coming fiscal year

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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Thursday unveiled his $5.5 billion operating budget for the coming fiscal year, which uses an influx of federal funding to pay for increased money to schools, libraries and crime prevention.

He also laid out a five-year plan for Philadelphia that will go beyond his last two years in office.

Kenney delivered his budget address virtually to Philadelphia City Council. The second-term Democrat released his plan online.

"This plan will move Philadelphia forward by enhancing core City services, accelerating inclusive economic growth across the city, maintaining the City’s long-term fiscal health, and continuing to reduce racial disparities so that race is not a determinant of success, and every single person that calls Philadelphia home can thrive," Kenney said in remarks released Wednesday. "This budget demonstrates the determination to make our city a better place to live, work, and visit."

Among the educational areas highlighted in Kenney's FY23 spending plan are $270 million for the School District of Philadelphia, more than $50 million in the Community College of Philadelphia, expanding the PHLpreK program and adding $48 million to library spending over five years.

In an attempt to slow gun violence and crime in the city, Kenney is allotting more than $184 million as part of the Philadelphia’s violence prevention plan. That's an 18.5% increase over the previous fiscal year.

The budget also puts a focus on sweeping over 60 miles of city streets and putting $2 million toward additional crews targeting illegal dumping.

Other areas Kenney plans to address include infrastructure, public transportation, parks, business corridors, housing, the opioid crisis and divirsity.

Kenney credited the influx of $1.4 billion from the federal American Rescue Plan to helping fund projects over the next five years as the city looks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. But, he warned, the money doesn't cover everything.

"The support from the ARP represented a significant turning point for Philadelphia, not just in the fight against the pandemic but for the future of our great city,” Kenney said Wednesday. “However, the funding we’re receiving from the ARP is less than the actual need over five years in order to fully fund service needs and priorities and keep city finances on a stable, sustainable path. This fact requires us to make difficult and strategic choices."

Kenney's office put the mayor's budget presentation, operating budget and proposed FY23-27 Five Year Plan online.

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