Mayor Jim Kenney delivers his budget address on March 1, 2018. Credit: Twitter / @PhillyMayor

Thursday morning, Mayor Kenney stood at a podium in City Hall and described how thrilled he still is about the Eagles Super Bowl win. The shared memory set the theme for his annual budget address.

In addition to his program for Fiscal Year 2019, the mayor laid out a “Five Year Plan” that included investments in various city departments, including the Philly School District, the Police and Fire departments and the Streets Dept. The proposal as a whole will now be reviewed and debated by City Council, which needs to approve it before anything is implemented.

In total, Kenney’s FY19 budget would cost $4.7 billion. What’s new this year? Here’s a quick overview of the mayor’s ideas:


  • Off the top, a straight $20 million increase in the city’s yearly contribution to the Philadelphia School District (last year this amount was $104 million total)
  • A slowdown in planned wage tax reductions, to add another $340 million for schools over the next five years
  • A 6 percent increase in property taxes, to generate another $475 million for the district (estimated to add $95 the average homeowner’s bill)
  • $1.5 million more annually for the Community College of Philadelphia, to help “keep tuition as low as possible”

Police and Fire 

  • An additional $100 million over the next five years to help the Police Dept. grow to 6,525 officers (the number currently stands just over 6,300)
  • Money to build a 911 Training Center and relocate Police HQ to 400 N. Broad St. (the takeover of the former Inquirer building may end up costing more than originally anticipated)
  • $54 million more to the Fire Dept., over five years, to support its staff of about 2,600
  • $10 million to replace ambulances, fire engines and ladders
  • Money for a Fire Dept. “Logistics Hub,” which would include space for training, vehicle storage and a central location for operational command

District Attorney’s Office

  • $4.5 million in the next five years to support staffing and technology upgrades
  • Money to continue programs started by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation (which in 2016 gave $3.5 million toward reducing Philly’s jail population)


  • $60 million to the Streets Dept. to redesign streets and sidewalks and prevent traffic fatalities (as outlined in Vision Zero goals)
  • More money to help the Streets Dept. resurface and pave 131 miles of road every year
  • More Streets staffers dedicated to pursuing grants for capital projects, to save taxpayers money
  • A continued effort to replace trash compactors, working toward having them all replaced in the next five years
  • $2 million more to the Dept. of Licenses and Inspections, to demolish up to 650 unsafe properties

Addiction and recovery

  • $20 million more for “tackling the opioid crisis.” That total will support the following efforts:
  • More housing options for people with addiction (including $1 million a year for Project HOME’s Hub of Hope in Suburban Station, which provides a daytime haven for the city’s homeless population)
  • Increased naloxone (Narcan) distribution throughout the city
  • Coaching medical professionals on how to treat OD victims ($225,000 annually)
  • A multi-disciplinary team, led by the Fire Dept., that would connect OD victims with social service resources
  • More funding for the Police Assisted Diversion program, which helps direct low-level offenders to community-based services instead of jail ($750,000 annually)

Department of Human Services

  • $1.5 million from the city (matched with $9 million from federal and state grants) to fund more foster care providers and 16 new case managers


  • More money for the Office of Fleet Management’s apprenticeship program (OFM is responsible for all city vehicles, which currently number around 6,300)
  • Increasing pay for Parks & Rec seasonal employees to a living wage
  • Money for the Fair Chance Hiring Initiative, which provides grants for employers who hire returning citizens

Home ownership

  • Increasing the Homestead Exemption for real estate taxes from $30,000 of assessed property value to $40,000
  • $2.5 million more for programs that help prevent foreclosures
  • $3.8 million for the Philadelphia Land Bank, which works to turn vacant properties into productive use

Michaela Winberg is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She covers LGBTQ people and culture, public spaces, and transportation and mobility. She also sometimes produces radio and web features...