Should Philly borrow $ 134 million to fund improved transit, parks and sanitation?
Voters must decide whether to give permission to the cash-strapped city for this purpose.
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It’s no secret that Philly is mired in a more intense budget crisis than the one we’ve seen in years. The already cash-strapped city had to tighten its belt further when the economic toll from the pandemic forced authorities to cut its fiscal year 2021 budget by around $ 649 million.
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Now, as he does every year, Mayor Jim Kenney asks if he can borrow over $ 100 million to help complete the city’s programming.
If the City of Philadelphia borrows ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FOUR MILLION DOLLARS ($ 134,000,000.00) to be spent for capital purposes as follows: Transit; Streets and sanitation; Municipal buildings; Parks, recreation and museums; and economic and community development?
As usual, it’s your standard question “let’s have money”. Basically, it’s Mayor Kenney asking voters directly if they will allow the city to borrow to fund various programs. It’s very common – there has been a question about bonds like this, the same wording and the same format, every year for the past two decades. This time around, the administration is requesting a loan of $ 134 million specifically for projects related to parks and recreation, cultural institutions, sanitation, transportation and related programming.
In the last election, the Inquirer had a useful primer on this standard voting question. A little background on this year’s version:
- This asking price seems a bit high, but it needs to be seen in context: this year it represents around 3% of the city’s annual budget.
- Yet that would add to the city’s outstanding debt of $ 5.5 billion to be paid until 2047.
- The city has had to cut many programs after slashing its budget for fiscal 2021 by more than half a billion dollars due to the coronavirus.
- The amount is less than last year’s $ 185 million bond.
- Overall, our current mayor has asked for more money in bonds than his predecessor, Mayor Michael Nutter.
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