On election day, Philadelphia residents voted to approve a $181 million municipal bond that Major Jim Kenney will use to fund various capital projects throughout the city.
The bond will be used to support infrastructure improvements throughout Philadelphia, including street repavement, maintenance of the Schuylkill River, and various improvements to Penn’s Landing. Other recipients of the bond include the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Zoo.
The loan comes after a January report by Truth in Accounting ranking Philadelphia’s financial health as the third worst in the nation. Philadelphia’s overall debt prior to this decision was estimated at approximately $20 billion, taking into account bonds as well as unfunded pension benefits and retiree healthcare.
The new bonds will additionally fund improvements to the Mann Center for the Performing Arts as well as provide new headquarters and vehicles for the Philadelphia Fire and Police Departments.
The City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild project will also benefit from the new loan, receiving $1 million for its budget to help improve playgrounds, libraries, and recreation centers. The Department of Parks and Recreation will receive funds for its own projects as well, such as improving the East Park Canoe House and building a new dock for dragon boats on the Schuylkill River.
The bonds will help Philadelphia raise more funds for other projects through private, state, and federal matching funds — contributing to Philadelphia’s operating budget for the 2019 fiscal year. Philadelphia’s current operating budget, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, is $4.7 billion in addition to its six year, $10.2 billion capital budget.
Further community uses of the new bonds include assisting homeless shelters in replacing their heating and cooling systems, updating the city’s administrative technology, and contributing to SEPTA construction projects throughout the city.