Battleground Politics

The Race for Philly Mayor: How Would Top Dem Candidates Manage City Services?

Top Democratic mayoral candidates Jeff Brown, Allan Domb, Helen Gym, Cherelle Parker and Rebecca Rhynhart on making sure taxpayers are getting the services they pay for

NBC Universal, Inc.

Philadelphia collected more than $4 billion in tax revenue last year.

But, what are taxpayers getting for their money?

NBC10 recently looked at how some of the top Democratic candidates for the city's highest office would address crime and issues with trash collection, but what about the litany of municipal services that so many in the city depend on?

Fixing potholes, maintaining public buildings and ensuring the city's finances are being managed properly are all issues that the next mayor will need to grapple with. And, the top five Democratic candidates for mayor each have different ideas for the best ways to address these issues.

For former councilwoman Cherelle Parker, she pointed to her background in state and local politics to note that she believes that she has a track record of working to ensure that she can lead the city's workforce.

"People want a doer. They want a fixer, and I've demonstrated that I can do it," she told NBC10 recently. "Motivating, inspiring and encouraging our workforce. The city works because of the people who live here. And, we have to remember that some of their jobs are extremely tough. But, we've got to motivate them, encourage them."

In Parker's public safety plan, she points out that a focus of her campaign would be ensuring that the city addresses quality-of-life issues -- "such as cleaning streets, fixing broken streetlights, and repairing and preserving homes where the owners may not be able to afford the repairs" -- if she is elected.

Grocer and Democratic mayoral candidate Jeff Brown said that, if elected, he would focus on quality-of-life issues to ensure residents are getting the most for the taxes they pay to afford city services.

"I'm concerned about the level of respect for people in this city," Brown has said.

In his plan to address crime in the city Brown says, if elected, he would "increase affordable and workforce housing, expand after-school programs, and provide career opportunities, summer jobs, and internships for every kid. We will reopen our swimming pools, rec centers, and libraries," all in an effort to impact poverty through municipal programs.

Democratic candidate and former city controller Rebecca Rhynhart said that she endeavors to make the city "safer and cleaner."

"And, I can be ready on day one to do just that," she said.

Rhynhart noted her experience in running the city's budget under former mayor Michael Nutter as evidence that she can manage city finances to ensure taxpayer funds are being managed appropriately.

She said that she would want to address the city's budget for the police -- last year alone Philadelphia taxpayers spent $788 million on police, alone.

"Look at the police budget, neighborhood by neighborhood, get community input and build a police department that truly reflects the needs of each different neighborhood," would be her goal, she said.

Her public safety plan also calls for "long term investment" in neighborhoods and residents by "improving the schools, cleaning and greening these communities, providing localized job training, and creating pathways to good jobs with wages that allow our families to thrive."

For former city councilperson turned Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym, the need for proper municipal services is part-and-parcel with decades of disinvestment in city services.

"You see streets that are not picked up. Schools that fall apart. Closed public buildings and the lack of jobs and opportunities," Gym said.

In her "promise for a thriving Philadelphia," says that she would make sure the city invests "in the services that research has shown to significantly reduce violence: Improving street lighting, towing abandoned cars, increasing trash removal, preventing illegal dumping, sealing vacant buildings, and cleaning and greening vacant lots."

Former city councilmember and Democratic mayoral candidate Allan Domb also argued that the city needs to manage it's finances better in order to address quality-of-life issues for all Philadelphia residents.

"I'll make sure we clean the streets. We fix the potholes. We repair the broken street lights. We manage the finances," Domb said. "We have so much in tax dollars coming in, we don't necessarily need more money. We need to manage the money we have much more efficiently."

In a list of accomplishments on his website, Domb touts his successes in managing city finances. He notes that he's worked to passing tax reform with wage tax and business tax relief, helped return millions in delinquent tax money to Philadelphia schools and city services and endeavored to ensure anti-violence grant funds are spent effectively.

Contact Us