The Philadelphia City Planning Commission unanimously adopted the city’s new six-year capital program and budget in a special session on Friday, after an outline of the plan by Deputy Director Alan Urek.
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 capital program, for fiscal years 2015 through 2020, totals about $9.4 billion recommended for 69 projects involving 21 departments. The budget program totals $3.2 billion and calls for $131.5 million in new city bond supported funds. The process, which involved the PCPC and the city's Budget Office, spanned the last year. Nicole McCormac, representing the city's budget office, has been working with the PCPC on its capital plans and was on hand 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. Urek said the program is restrained by how much it can spend given what the state constitution mandates and the city's ability to borrow. Although the borrowing capacity is slightly higher than in years past due to the Actual Value Initiative that should boost tax revenues that program is still chronically underfunded given Philadelphia's vast facilities and technolgy needs.
Urek led an interdepartmental effort to prepare the City’s Capital Program, the blueprint for investing in Philadelphia’s physical and technology infrastructure, community facilities, and public buildings. The capital budget is the program’s first year spending plan.
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:
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Golas worked in the daily newspaper business for 32 years, including 20 at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was Metropolitan Editor. He was also Executive Editor and Vice President of the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader.