Parker’s ‘One Philly’ budget

Mayor Cherelle Parker
Mayor Cherelle Parker

Mayor Cherelle Parker last week delivered her first budget address to City Council, calling it a “One Philly” budget.

“It’s my first budget proposal as your mayor and it’s big and it’s bold,” she said.

The budget does not include any tax hikes. Over five years, she plans to spend $2 billion in new funding on five “pillars”: public safety, clean and green, economic opportunity, housing and education.

The mayor pointed to a recent shooting at a bus stop at Ogontz and Godfrey avenues that wounded two women and three Imhotep Charter School students.

“One student died from his wounds. He was 17. Packed with potential. Now he’s gone, all too soon,” she said.

To address gun violence, she will make $33 million in new investments in public safety. The budget includes hiring at least 400 police officers every year. Her community policing model will include more than 100 cops walking a beat and riding a bike.

The budget funds 150 patrol cars, 75 unmarked cars, cell phone and video software, drones and upgrades to investigative equipment. Parker hopes to install cameras at the 13 recreation centers that don’t have them. A $45 million forensics lab will be created.

Parker said police will crack down on retail theft.

“Going in and stealing $499 worth of merchandise from our stores is not OK anymore. We will enforce the law,” she said.

Parker called for a “one-stop-shop” for “returning citizens” to connect to services and supports from the federal, state and local government.

A proud Oak Lane Wildcat, she plans to give $3.2 million to youth sports organizations.

The Parker administration plans more than $100 million in new investments for long-term care, treatment and housing for those suffering from addiction, homelessness and mental health challenges.

Parker also cited her desire for a clean, green city.

“If public safety is priority No. 1 for Philadelphians, quality-of-life issues is No. 1A,” she said.

The mayor plans to clean and seal more than 900 vacant buildings and team with the Philadelphia Parking Authority to tow more than 10,000 abandoned cars in the coming year. She will direct some $18 million for a new residential cleaning program in each councilmanic district. Speaking to district Council members, she said constituents calling about trash, dumping or abandoned cars were usually directed to the sanitation department, the Neighborhood Services Unit or the Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP).

“Not anymore. That siloed approach is history,” she said.

Parker will give SEPTA $117 million, but wants the agency to come forward with an aggressive plan to make buses and trains safer and cleaner.

The budget is also the starting point for Parker’s goal of creating 30,000 housing units, sure to make the building trades – perhaps Parker’s biggest supporters in the primary – happy with all the new work.

“I’ve proposed this ‘One Philly’ budget to the City Council of Philadelphia – with $2 billion of new investments in the people of our wonderful city – and I approve this message,” she said. ••