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Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker speaks at a campaign rally for Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) on Jan. 26. Credit: Ethan Young

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker announced her budget proposal on Thursday, highlighting her commitment to public safety and community improvement. 

The budget, which would begin during the 2025 fiscal year, is proposed to be $6.29 billion over the next five fiscal years. Parker, a 2016 Fels School of Government graduate and the city’s first woman mayor, wrote in her proposal that Penn is currently working with the city on public health issues for vulnerable residents. 

The proposal says that Philadelphia Managing Director Adam Thiel, who is currently pursuing a master's degree in organizational dynamics in Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies, is working with CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System Kevin Mahoney — among other “leaders in public health” — to develop a plan to aid unhoused individuals, as well as those facing substance abuse disorder and mental health challenges. 

Mahoney and a Penn Med spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The proposal mentions multiple ways in which Penn has already worked with the City to address problems within the child welfare system, as well as increase reach for mental health and substance abuse programs. It also looks ahead to how Penn will play a role in developing ways to increase adoption of the city’s Income Based Wage Tax Refund

In a previous interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian, Parker said that she viewed Penn as a “essential service provider in the Philadelphia area,” and wanted the University to commit to Payments In Lieu of Taxes. Thus far in her term as mayor, however, she has not called for Penn to pay PILOTs. 

A highlight of Parker’s proposal is the continuation of her focus on public safety, specifically in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. 

“For the long-time residents and everyone who has weathered the humanitarian crisis, know that I want to make Kensington a neighborhood of choice and beacon of pride again,” Parker said in her budget proposal address

Her plan also includes an $877 million police budget, which also allots millions of dollars for upgraded technology. A cornerstone of Parker’s mayoral campaign was her stance of being tough on crime — a stance she reinforces with increased police spending but complements with her focus on public safety and improvement initiatives.  

Parker said in her address that she wants to make Philadelphia the “safest, cleanest, greenest city in the nation,” emphasizing her commitment to facilitating socioeconomic mobility and improving public services. 

The Philadelphia City Council will be negotiating the contents of the budget proposal throughout the spring before it is expected to take effect on July 1.