Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

  • Good morning, everyone.

  • (Good morning.)

  • It appears we have established a quorum. I'd ask all guests and visitors to please retire behind the rail and members take their seat. We will start.

    To give our invocation, the Chair recognizes Reverend Robert Shipman, Sr., Pastor of Prince of Peace Baptist Church and also a very good friend of mine and the President of the Baptist Pastors and Ministers Conference of Philadelphia and Vicinity. He is here today as the guest of Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown.

    Pastor.

    I'd ask everyone to please rise.

  • (Members and guests rise.)

  • God, we're thankful for the privilege that we have to be in this place today to occupy this moment in time and in space. We're grateful for the privilege that you have given to this country to be, in many of our hearts and minds, the world leader. We're grateful that you have given to the City of Philadelphia the privilege of being a city that is known for its innovation, its creativity, and its daring to move to new horizons.

    We're grateful for the leaders who have committed themselves to the passing of legislation that will secure the future of all the citizens hereof and all those who are even less fortunate than we.

    We pray for wisdom for each one today and that you would cause us not to move by simple expediency, but by the social good, the general good for all of the masses of people, for all of the races that unite in this city, for all of the economic conditions that exist here. Give these wisdom to do those things, to pass those ordinances and legislation that will affect positively the lifestyle and the quality of life for the thousands and millions perhaps that will be impacted by their decisions.

    We ask you now, oh gracious father, for special mercy, for special grace in this time that is so challenging in so many ways. We pray for boldness, for leaders who are faced with challenges to make decisions that may affect either their career or the good of those less fortunate. Give them strength to make the right decisions.

    We pray now for this great city, that you would prosper her, that you would lift her, and that she would truly live up to the name -- to that nomenclature that represents her across the world, the City of Brotherly Love.

    Move us, we pray. Guide us, we pray. Increase our level of intelligence and comprehension of the things that are going on around us so that all the things may be considered as we develop this great society.

    Keep us now and guide us, we pray. I pray for this people, for these who are gathered, especially the legislators and including those who are extensions of their offices, those who are here to listen to the things that will be discussed and be impacted by them. I pray for each one for a spirit of respect and camaraderie, for a spirit of wholeness to envelop this place that together we may not think simply from our angst or anxiety, but again from that which will benefit us most as a people.

    Bless now. Do your will within us, because we cannot often see ourselves walking in it. Guide us as we tread this dark path.

    We ask you now for all these things in the name of Christ, our Lord, and we give you praise.

    Amen.

  • Thank you so much, Pastor.

    Council will be at ease.

  • (Council at ease.)

  • Thank you very much.

    The next order of business is the approval of the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, February 27th, 2014.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Journal of the meeting of Thursday, February, 27th, 2014 be approved.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the Journal of Thursday, February 27th, 2014 stand approved.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and the Journal is approved.

    The next order of business is requests for leaves of absence, and the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of the democrats, there are no requests for leaves of absence today.

  • The Chair thanks the gentleman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of the republicans, there are no requests for leave of absence.

  • Thank you, sir.

    Folks, I'd ask that you please keep your voices down a little bit, and if you have any devices, cell phones, whatever, iPads, that make any noise whatsoever, please turn them to vibrate or, better yet, turn them off. Thank you very much for your cooperation.

    At this time, I will dispense with the regular order of business and thank everyone for coming here today. I welcome you. I know a lot of you are government employees, so I don't have to give the usual spiel about you experiencing your government in action, but for those of you who are not government employees, I want to thank you and welcome you for coming here today and hope that you enjoy this so much that you come back again. So, again, thank you very much.

    Today we have many distinguished visitors with us, including elected officials, heads of departments, boards, commissions, and many representatives from the Administration. Please know that we appreciate you being with us today. We want to extend a warm welcome and to offer our thanks for all the good work that you do, and we all say thank you. Thank you very much.

    Guys, you can kind of like take pride in the wonderful work that you do. Thank you all. And I'll be calling some of you tomorrow, because one of the lights in my recreation center is out. Thank you. I'm just saying, with this Council, business is business.

    The next order of business is communications. The Chair requests that the Sergeant-of-Arms delivers the messages from the Mayor to the Chief Clerk.

    Mr. Decker, would you please read those messages.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, pursuant to Sections 4-604 and 2-307 of the Home Rule Charter, I am today transmitting to the Council the recommendation of the City Planning Commission on the following bills: Bill Nos. 140003, 140004, 140005, 140007, 140008, 140009, 140053, 140075, 140076, and 140097; and I am pleased to advise you that on March 4, 2014, I signed the following bills that were passed by Council at its session on February 20, 2014: Bill Nos. 120387 and 130744-A, and that I am returning without my signature Bill Nos. 130851 and 130852; and

    I am transmitting for the consideration of your honorable body a resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Model Cities Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 1627 through 31 West Montgomery Avenue; and

    A resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the West Philadelphia Redevelopment Area, identified by house number and street address as 5436 Malcolm Street; and

    A resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the New Kensington-Fishtown Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 2103 Abigail Street; and

    A resolution providing for the approval by the Council of the City of Philadelphia of a Revised Five Year Financial Plan for the City of Philadelphia covering Fiscal Years 2015 through 2019, and incorporating proposed changes with respect to Fiscal Year 2014, which is to be submitted by the Mayor to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority; and

    An ordinance to adopt a Capital Program for the six Fiscal Years 2015-2020 inclusive; and

    An ordinance to adopt a Fiscal Year 2015 Capital Budget; and

    An ordinance adopting the Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2015; and

    An ordinance amending Section 19-1806 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Authorization of Realty Use and Occupancy Tax," to further authorize the Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia to impose a tax on the use or occupancy of real estate within the School District of Philadelphia; and

    An ordinance amending Section 19-1801 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Authorization of Tax," to further authorize the Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia to impose a tax on real estate within the City of Philadelphia; and

    An ordinance authorizing the Procurement Commissioner to enter into purchase obligations for the delivery of electric, natural gas and motor fuel energy supplies for use by facilities owned and leased by the City, including agreements that obligate payments for delivery of such energy supplies in future fiscal years, all under certain terms and conditions.

  • Thank you, Mr. Decker. Do you have any additional communications?

  • I have none, Mr. President.

  • Thank you so much.

    The next order of business is the introduction of bills and resolutions, and the Chair recognizes Councilman Kenney.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have no bills or resolutions today.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Blackwell.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Today I introduce four resolutions.

  • A privileged resolution honoring and recognizing Pastor Brian Jenkins, Founder and Executive Director of Chosen 300 Ministries, for his courage, drive, and commitment to fighting homelessness and poverty in the City of Philadelphia.

  • Thank you. That resolution will be placed on today's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution calling on the Council of the City of Philadelphia to recognize and support President Barack Obama's execution of a Presidential Memorandum creating and expanding ladders of opportunity for boys and young men of color which established the My Brother's Keeper initiative.

  • And that resolution will also be placed on today's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the West Philadelphia Redevelopment Area, identified by house number and street address as 5436 Malcolm Street.

  • And that resolution will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property to execute and deliver to the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, without consideration, deeds conveying conditional fee simple title to certain City-owned lots or pieces of ground with the buildings and improvements thereon, situate in the Sixtieth Ward of the City of Philadelphia.

  • That resolution will also be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Greenlee.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Together with you and Councilman Goode, I offer one bill, and on your behalf I offer two resolutions.

  • An ordinance amending Chapter 19-1500 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Wage and Net Profits Tax," by decreasing the rate or rates of the tax imposed upon certain low income persons, providing for refunds of excess taxes paid, directing the Revenue Department to develop procedures and forms whereby eligible taxpayers can obtain such refunds, and requiring employers to provide refund forms to employees.

  • And that bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a non-privileged resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Cecil B. Moore Avenue Urban Renewal Area, identified by house numbers and street addresses as 1725 through 27 Cecil B. Moore Avenue and 1735 Cecil B. Moore Avenue.

  • That resolution will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the Model Cities Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 1627 through 31 West Montgomery Avenue.

  • That resolution will also be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Henon.

  • Thank you, Council President. I offer one privileged resolution.

  • A privileged resolution honoring The Saint Patrick's Day Observance Association for their efforts in organizing the 244th Annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade.

  • That resolution will be on today's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Tasco.

  • I have no bills or resolutions today, Mr. President.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Johnson.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have one bill.

  • An ordinance authorizing the Procurement Commissioner to enter into purchase obligations for the delivery of electric, natural gas and motor fuel energy supplies for use by facilities owned and leased by the City.

  • That bill will be placed in the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have one privileged resolution co-sponsored by yourself.

  • A privileged resolution recognizing and honoring the partnership between the Salvation Army and Walmart to support a peer mentoring program in North Philadelphia.

  • That resolution will be on this week's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman O'Brien.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have one bill.

  • An ordinance amending Title 9 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Regulation of Businesses, Trades and Professions," by adding definitions, duties, penalties, exceptions, prohibited acts, licensing requirements and other related items regarding provision of immigration assistance services.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer no bills or resolutions today.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.

  • Good morning, Mr. President. I offer one bill and one resolution.

  • An ordinance amending Title 4 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "The Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code," by amending Subcode 'PM', entitled The Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code, by requiring the registration of placement of solar panels on roofs.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And a privileged resolution recognizing and supporting women and girls throughout the world on the occasion of International Women's Day on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

  • That resolution will be on today's Final Passage Calendar.

    And the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones.

  • Mr. President, today I offer six bills on behalf of you and the Administration.

  • An ordinance to adopt a Capital Program for the six Fiscal Years 2015-2020 inclusive.

  • That bill will be referred to the appropriate committee.

  • And an ordinance to adopt a Fiscal 2015 Capital Budget.

  • That bill will also be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance adopting the Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2015.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance amending Section 19-1806 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Authorization of Realty Use and Occupancy Tax," to further authorize the Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia to impose a tax on the use or occupancy of real estate within the School District of Philadelphia.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And an ordinance amending Section 19-1801 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Authorization of Tax," to further authorize the Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia to impose a tax on real estate within the City of Philadelphia.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a resolution providing for the approval by the Council of the City of Philadelphia of a Revised Five Year Financial Plan for the City of Philadelphia covering Fiscal Years 2015 through 2019.

  • And that resolution will be referred to the committee.

    And the Chair recognizes Councilman O'Neill.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have no bills or resolutions.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Squilla.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. Before I introduce the legislation, I just want to announce a special guest. Normally we have from PECO Ed and Melanie are here, but today we have Chris Ritter from PECO, who is an underground foreman for almost 28 years and someone who led PECO's crew for eight days restoring power to 715,000 customers during the recent ice storm. Chris won a contest at PECO to visit City Council today. I guess he's a real lucky guy.

    So, Chris, you want to stand up. Congratulations. Thank you for attending.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I'd like to offer one bill and three resolutions, one co-sponsored by Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez and Councilman Kenney and the other co-sponsored by President Clarke and Councilman Kenney.

  • An ordinance to amend the Philadelphia Zoning Maps by changing the zoning designations of certain areas of land located within an area bounded by Girard Avenue, Front Street, the Delaware Expressway, Spring Garden Street, 3rd Street, Brown Street, and 2nd Street.

  • That bill will be referred to committee.

  • And a privileged resolution proclaiming March 16, 2014 as "Quiara Alegia Hughes Day" in Philadelphia for her award winning contributions to the world of arts, literature and theatre.

  • That will be on today's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution also naming 3rd Street between Market Street and Poplar Streets to "N3RD Street."

  • That resolution will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

  • And a non-privileged resolution approving the redevelopment contract of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for the redevelopment and urban renewal of a portion of the New Kensington-Fishtown Urban Renewal Area, identified by house number and street address as 2103 Abigail Street.

  • That resolution will be on next week's Final Passage Calendar.

    The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Bass.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I have no bills or resolutions.

  • Thank you, Councilwoman.

    The Chair recognizes Councilman Oh.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I offer no bills or resolutions.

  • Thank you very much, Councilman.

    And that concludes our introduction of bills and resolutions. The next order of business is reports from committee, and the Chair recognizes Councilman Goode for a report from the Committee on Appropriations.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Appropriations reports two bills with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you.

    Mr. Decker, please read the report.

  • To the President and members of the Council of the City of Philadelphia, the Committee on Appropriations, to which was referred Bill No. 140017, entitled "An ordinance amending Chapter 20-304 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Compensation for Members of Boards, Commissions, Committees and Councils,' by repealing Bill No. 100212, thereby returning the compensation for members of the Board of Revision of Taxes to the level existing prior to the passage of that bill"; and

    Bill No. 140079, entitled "An ordinance authorizing transfers in appropriations for Fiscal Year 2014 from the General Fund, certain or all City offices, departments, boards and commissions, the Water Fund, the Department of Revenue and the Grants Revenue Fund, the Director of Finance - Provision for Other Grants to the General Fund, certain or all City offices, departments, boards and commissions, the Water Fund, the Department of Revenue and the Grants Revenue Fund, the Department of Parks and Recreation," respectfully reports it has considered and amended the same and returns the attached bills to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • And the Chair again recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bills No. 140017 and 140079.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended this day so as to permit first reading of Bills No. 140017 and 140079.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • Wow. All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and those bills will be placed on our First Reading Calendar for today.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Goode for a report from the Committee of Commerce and Economic Development.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. The Committee on Commerce and Economic Development reports two bills with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, Councilman.

    Mr. Decker, please read that report.

  • The Committee on Commerce and Economic Development, to which was referred Bill No. 140002, entitled "An ordinance authorizing the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development to purchase approximately Two and Seven-Tenths acres of land situate at 5210 Lindbergh Boulevard"; and

    Bill No. 140100, entitled "An ordinance amending Chapter 17-1300 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled 'Philadelphia 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Standard,' by further providing with respect to the membership of the Living Wage and Benefits Review Committee; all under certain terms and conditions," respectfully reports it has considered the same and returns the attached bills to Council with a favorable recommendation.

  • Thank you, Mr. Decker.

    The Chair again recognizes Councilman Goode.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the rules of Council be suspended so as to permit first reading this day of Bills No. 140002 and 140100.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • Thank you. It has been moved and properly seconded that the rules of Council be suspended this day so as to permit first reading of Bills No. 140002 and 140100.

    All those in favor say aye.

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and those bills will be placed on our First Reading Calendar for today.

    The next order of business is the consideration of the Calendar. I note that the bills just reported from committee with suspension of the rules have been deemed to have had a first reading. These bills will be placed on our Second Reading and Final Passage Calendar for our next session of Council.

    As there are no additional bills on our First Reading Calendar, the Chair recognizes Councilman Jones for the purpose of calling up bills and resolutions on our Final Passage Calendar today.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. All resolutions and bills that are listed on the Final Passage and Second Reading and Final Passage Calendars are being held. In addition, all resolutions that were added to this day's Final Passage Calendar are also being held.

  • Thank you, sir.

    The next order of business would traditionally be public comment. I will make the following message:

    Due to the constraints given the Mayor's budget address, we will shortly consider the public comment period which will be deferred to the next session of Council.

    Therefore, as provided by the

    rules of Council, Council will take no

    action on any bill or resolution today.

    Bottom line, if we did that, you would

    have to have public comment to comply

    with the state Supreme Court's ruling.

    So in order to enable us to move forward

    with the Mayor's budget message, we will not have public comment. We will not take any action on any bills or resolutions, so we stay in full compliance with the rules of not only the Council but the rules of the state Supreme Court.

    At this time, time has come for us to consider the Mayor's presentation of the annual budget message. The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter states that the Mayor shall submit to Council, no later than 90 days before the end of the fiscal year, his operating budget, his message, and proposed operating budget ordinance for the ensuing fiscal year. At the same time, the Mayor shall

    submit to Council the recommendation of

    the capital program and capital budget as

    received from the City Planning

    Commission, to the extent approved by the

    Mayor.

    I now appoint the following

    committee to escort the Mayor into the

    Council Chamber: Councilman Jones, Councilwoman Brown, Councilman Greenlee, Councilman O'Neill, and Councilman Oh.

    Prior to the Mayor's arrival, I would like to say one thing. We would ask that you restrain from any comments during the Mayor's budget message. We believe that to honor the decorum of this Council, we're going to ask people basically to comply with the rules. I don't anticipate any problems, but I feel I must say that. If in any way, shape or form people do not allow us to conduct our business, you will be asked to either stay quiet or you will be asked to leave.

    Thank you very much.

  • (Brief pause.)

    SERGEANT-AT-ARMS:

    Mr. President, the Mayor has arrived.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to

    introduce the Mayor of the City of

    Philadelphia, Michael A. Nutter.

  • (Applause.)

  • Thank you, Mr. President.

    Good morning, Mr. President and the City Council leadership, all the members of City Council, I understand at least from my notes, District Attorney Seth Williams, Sheriff Jewell Williams, Controller Alan Butkovitz. There may be at least one or more City Commissioners, possibly members of the judiciary, but I'll try to cover that with all of my fellow elected officials from all branches of government, the members of our Administration and any special guests that may be here and our fellow

    Philadelphians. Reverend Shipman I know

    gave the invocation and I want to thank

    him not only for that invocation this

    morning, but also his leadership and for

    his church, risen from the ashes and

    strong. I appreciate his leadership.

    Mr. President, let me also give

    a special thanks to you and all of your staff working together with our staff for the arrangements for today, and I want to say thank you very, very much.

  • Before we get started today, I also want to recognize the 2014 recipient of the Richardson Dilworth Award for Distinguished Public Service, Ms. Barbara Ash, a Law Department attorney in the Child Welfare Unit who works with an unparalleled sense of purpose and professionalism. She has been a tremendous advocate for our city's social workers and the children and families that they serve. Let us please

    give Barbara Ash a big round of applause.

  • (Applause.)

  • I am quite sure

    that Barbara, members of the City

    Council, all elected officials, and all

    public servants and thousands of our City

    employees would agree, public service is

    truly a calling, a vocation. Each of us answered that call and steadfastly serve our communities working together to shape the future of our city and the lives of every Philadelphian.

    For nearly 15 years, I served as a member of City Council, and for the last six years, I've proudly worked together with all of you as Mayor of this great city.

    And so, again, I'd like to thank Council President Clarke and all members of City Council for their partnership and leadership over the last six-plus years. Working together, this City Council and our Administration have achieved a great deal. We're attracting

    new business, creating jobs. We're

    safer, greener, and growing in population

    and our economy.

    In just the last two years,

    working together, we transformed the

    City's skyline with more than seven and a

    half billion dollars worth of recently

    announced, under construction or completed projects, including Comcast's Innovation and Technology Center, a new $1.2 billion development project that was just announced last month.

    Working together, we reformed Philadelphia's inaccurate and unfair property tax system into an accurate, understandable, and fair system that used industry best practices to complete the first citywide property reassessment under the Actual Value Initiative.

    Working together, Council President Clarke, Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez, and our Administration created a better system for the disposition of vacant land and

    properties, making Philadelphia the

    largest city in the nation to have a Land

    Bank.

    Working together, we rewrote

    the City's Zoning Code and created the

    City's first comprehensive plan,

    Philadelphia 2035.

    Working together, we've lowered wage and business taxes, bringing the resident wage tax rate below 4 percent for the first time since the 1970s, and we will continue to work together to lower the wage and business taxes while providing a range of exemptions and incentives authored by City Council to make Philadelphia a more attractive place for businesses to start, stay here, and grow here.

    Working together, we've transformed thousands of acres of long neglected waterfront on the Central Delaware and the Lower Schuylkill with dynamic plans that reclaim former industrial land.

    Working together, City Council

    President Clark again and the Fairmount

    Park Conservancy and our Administration

    have agreed to move forward with the sale

    of the Love Park garage and construction

    of a new JFK Plaza/Love Park, and the

    renovation of Dilworth Plaza, the

    People's Plaza, will be completed this fall.

    Working together, our Administration, with Council's active support, has increased diversity in the City business participation. We have consistently surpassed our goal with regard to the percentage of City contracts going to minority, women, and disabled-owned businesses. In 2013, we reached 28 percent participation, encouraging us to raise our participation target to 30 percent for FY15.

    A year before we began our partnership, in 2007, homicides in Philadelphia claimed the lives of 391 citizens. In 2013, we had 247 homicides,

    the lowest homicide count since 1967.

    It's a decrease of 38 percent since 2007

    and 26 percent lower than 2012. Overall,

    violent crime is down 15 percent compared

    to 2012.

    But we all agree, one life lost

    or damaged because of violence is one too

    many, and that's why we will remain focused on reducing violence among young people through the Youth Violence Reduction Collaborative and the federal Department of Justice's National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.

    And we must maintain our commitment and determination regarding homicides and shootings involving black men and boys through our work around Black Male Engagement, the Mayor's Commission on African American Males, and the national organization called Cities United, which was recently recognized by President Barack Obama during the launch of his "My Brother's Keeper" initiative just last week.

    In 2013, for the second year in

    a row, civilian fire fatalities were at

    an all-time low. Unfortunately, we did

    suffer the loss of one of Philadelphia's

    finest firefighters, Battalion Chief

    Michael Goodwin, last year. We pray for

    his family and all the families that have

    suffered the loss of loved ones from fire or violence.

    In 2007, our high school graduation rate was 53 percent and the number of Philadelphians with a four-year college degree was 18 percent. In 2008, we all committed ourselves to turning the tide on poor educational outcomes, and today our high school graduation rate is 64 percent, an improvement of 11 percentage points. And our college degree attainment rate is nearly 25 percent. Progress? Yes, but we know that we have much more to do.

    And our population has grown every year since 2007, as affirmed by the 2010 Census, and we'll show growth again

    in 2013 for the seventh straight year in

    a row. Attracting a diverse group of new

    residents, empty-nesters, immigrants, and

    Millennials. In fact, no major city in

    America has experienced a larger

    percentage growth in population of young

    people than Philadelphia.

    I also want to point out that our strong fiscal management, our careful financial stewardship, our ability to work together and make tough budget decisions is the reason that Standard and Poor's gave Philadelphia the highest rating ever in our history with an "A+" municipal credit rating. And for the first time since the '70s, all three major rating agencies have Philadelphia in the "A" category.

    That's just a small portion of what our Administration and City Council have achieved working together. And I know that we'll add more to those accomplishments through our continued partnership.

    Today, my proposed FY15 budget

    builds on our collective track record of

    fiscal responsibility and strategic

    investment. It includes investments that

    support our City of Philadelphia as we

    continue on a path to prosperity. It

    makes targeted investments for our

    children and our adult citizens, in our neighborhoods and in public safety. This budget continues the incremental wage tax reductions that we restarted last year to bolster economic growth.

    This budget proposes no tax increases for the City's General Fund. Let me repeat that. There are no tax increases for the General Fund of our City budget proposed today.

  • (Applause.)

  • But there are tax revenue issues related to funding public education that must be addressed, and I'll discuss those shortly.

    And we still have a variety of other challenges in front of us. Our

    total tax revenue in FY15 as compared to

    FY14 is down about $41 million, which

    translates to 1.5 percent below FY14's

    projections. This projected decrease in

    FY15 is due to the expiration of the 1

    percent Philadelphia Sales Tax and

    reforms in the Business Income and

    Receipts Tax.

    This budget, which balances lower tax revenue projections with rising employee costs, takes a prudent approach to addressing both the long-term challenges we face and the immediate needs of our citizens and our City departments.

    Just last night, District Council 47 overwhelmingly ratified an eight-year contract agreement that adds $122 million in costs to our Five Year Plan. Our hard-working City employees deserve the wage increases in this contract just as taxpayers who foot the bill deserve the cost-saving labor reforms in this agreement as well.

    This contract includes vital

    reforms in the areas of pension,

    healthcare, and overtime, while members

    of DC47 receive multiple wage increases

    over three years that they need for

    themselves and their families, starting

    30 days from today.

    As I've said many times, I want contracts for all of our municipal unions, and I certainly know that City Council feels the same way, but those agreements, in my view, also have to be fair to the financial interests of our citizens and our public servants.

    This remains my goal as we continue our negotiations with District Council Union 33, which unfortunately is now the only group of public employees that doesn't have a contract that provides raises for our workers.

    I want to give DC33 raises, and I need reforms as well. Let's get a contract for our DC33 workers soon.

    We're also concluding the

    arbitration process with our Firefighters

    Union, whose members received raises last

    year, and entering the arbitration

    process with members of the FOP, who

    received multiple raises in their

    five-year contract.

    Therefore, in our FY15 budget,

    we're setting aside some of our fund balance for future labor contract agreements, just as we did in the FY14 budget.

    We are committing more than $44.3 million for potential obligations with District Council 33, Local 22, Lodge 5 of the Police, and non-represented employees and for the new DC47 contract in our FY15 budget. Over the span of the Five Year Plan, we are reserving more than $375 million for contract costs, including the full cost of the contract with District Council 47.

    I am hopeful that all of our union leaders understand that my Administration wants fair multi-year

    contracts with all of our union

    employees. But, again, fair contracts

    must include work rule changes,

    healthcare cost savings and, most

    importantly, pension reform.

    We must control our costs of

    operating the City government while

    providing high-quality services and while also seeking opportunities to strengthen our financial picture and reduce financial risk. We must also explore new economic and job growth opportunities for our city, and that is why we have spent the last few years exploring the possible sale of PGW and the incredible business growth and job generation that this proposal could create.

    I know that members of City Council and all Philadelphians appropriately have questions regarding the proposed sale of PGW to UIL Holdings, but let me restate my analysis, because I believe this is the right decision for us, for PGW customers, and for PGW

    employees.

    The proposed agreement will

    freeze rates, gas rates, for three years.

    That means no rate hike for three years,

    and any new owner cannot raise rates

    after that time without the approval of

    the Pennsylvania Public Utility

    Commission, just as PGW operates right now.

    The agreement will maintain PGW's discount programs for low-income families and seniors and will position PGW to take full advantage of the abundant supply of natural gas in Pennsylvania, offering our city and region the opportunity to become a prime energy hub and job creator in America.

    In addition, UIL's commitment to accelerating investment in pipe replacement, LNG facilities, and the expanding shale gas operations means more jobs for Local 686 and our building construction trades. This is about jobs and economic growth for our city.

    The proposed agreement also

    protects the interests of PGW workers,

    which is very important to me. All PGW

    workers will be offered employment at

    UIL. There will be no layoffs. All

    pension benefits earned through the sale

    date are assured in the future. That

    means that PGW workers will receive their PGW pension whenever they retire. Whether it's two years or two decades from now, you will get your PGW pension.

    In addition, each year, our own City pension costs grow, straining our resources, resources that could be spent improving service delivery or reducing taxes. And now the City is doing all that we can to ensure the long-term financial security of our own City pension fund, but we must be honest, it is still less than half funded.

    Sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works could go a long way to rejuvenate our severely underfunded pension fund. The $1.86 billion agreement with UIL

    Holdings could infuse between $420

    million and $630 million into our pension

    fund.

    In the coming months, I know

    that City Council will do its own due

    diligence and carefully weigh all of the

    elements of a potential sale of PGW. My

    Administration is looking forward to working with Council, answering your questions, and hopefully ultimately completing this sale.

    Let me take a few moments to discuss the paramount issue that I know every member of Council is concerned about - public education for our kids.

    Our children deserve a high-quality education, period. But prolonged fiscal challenges at the School District have truly impeded our ability to provide a rich learning experience for our young people. Our Administration and City Council have time and time again shown leadership, increasing annual, recurring education funding by $155

    million over the last three years.

    Despite increased funding from

    the City and making tough decisions to

    reduce costs and implement savings, the

    School District is operating under a

    significantly constrained budget because

    it did not receive the full funding it

    needed for its current budget.

    Recently, the District requested an additional $320 million in recurring funding. That number is in addition to the $120 million that would be generated by the extension of the 1 percent Philadelphia sales tax currently a topic of conversation in City Council.

    Now, because we're required to budget revenues consistent with existing law for measures that have already been enacted, our budget assumes that the District will receive that $120 million. But let me be very clear, and I have been consistent in publicly stating on this issue, we are in agreement that a 50/50 split of the 1 percent sales tax

    extension, coupled with the

    implementation of the cigarette tax, is

    vitally important for the financial

    stability of the School District and the

    fiscal health of our City pension fund.

    And I will continue to be an aggressive

    and strong advocate for change in the

    sales tax extension legislation in Harrisburg.

    Two weeks ago, Dr. Hite announced that the District would need an additional $320 million for Action Plan 2.0. I said that I support his broad request for additional funds and that I would certainly do whatever I could within our own budget constraints to ensure that the District had additional funding that they needed from us.

    Specifically, the District has now made a direct request for $75 million in recurring annual funding from the City to support District-managed and charter schools. To meet the funding request, I am again calling on the General Assembly

    to authorize the $2 per pack cigarette

    tax, as already approved by this City

    Council.

    In its first year, the

    cigarette tax would generate $83 million

    in education funding, assuming a July 1,

    2014 start date. And even in the out

    years of the tax -- and smoking rates more than likely will decrease, which quite frankly is a good thing for the health and wellness of our citizens -- it will still provide more than $70 million of dependable, annual education funding. All it requires is the General Assembly to simply pass authorizing legislation, which, again, I will continue to actively and aggressively push for in Harrisburg.

    Once again, let me thank the members of City Council for passing the cigarette tax 16 to nothing, trying to provide local funding support for educating our children. But there is still so much work to do to support high-quality education and the children

    of this city. The School District of

    Philadelphia has a structural funding

    deficit that is caused by a consistent

    underfunding problem. It's not getting

    the funding that it needs or deserves.

    Most importantly, we need

    substantial and sustainable long-term

    funding. The School District of Philadelphia needs a statewide, student-weighted funding formula, a formula that takes into account the number of students in the District and the needs of those students. Pennsylvania is one of only three states in the United States of America that does not utilize a student-weighted formula. The time for one is now. Our children need it.

  • (Applause.)

  • We must stand together and urge the Commonwealth to step up, create a new funding formula and support Philadelphia students and children all across this state.

    Last month I asked members of

    the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of

    Commerce to partner with all of us in the

    fight for the future of our city, the

    fight for education funding. It is my

    sincere hope that Philadelphians will

    actively join in this fight for fair and

    full education funding as well.

    I want to recognize and thank Dr. William Hite and his team at the School District. He is in fact doing an incredible job under tremendously difficult circumstances and has my complete support, including his efforts to gain sensible work rule changes that support positive outcomes for our kids in new teacher and principal contracts.

    I know Dr. Hite, the School Reform Commission, and every Councilmember shares my belief that our children should be our first priority. Investing in their education is our investment in Philadelphia's future.

    Earlier I talked about fiscal

    responsibility and strategic investments.

    Our proposed FY15 budget continues to

    allocate funding for the support of our

    citizens and the improvement of our

    communities and neighborhoods. Let me

    take a few moments to highlight some of

    the new FY15 investments from the

    operating and capital budgets.

    Today, I'm pleased to announce that we will invest an additional $2.3 million in FY15 to bring all neighborhood branch libraries up to six-days-a-week service. We have not had this level of service in our branch libraries since the recession in 2008. We will be back to six full days of service very soon.

    This Council was right on this issue back in 2009, and I've been determined to correct my mistake ever since. And I apologize to the children and library users of this city for the impact of my decision back at that time. This new investment will total more than $11 million over the Five Year Plan to

    benefit our children, our parents,

    jobseekers, senior citizens, and many

    other library users.

    Additionally, we will spend

    $200,000 to build the collections at our

    neighborhood branches to ensure that our

    neighborhood libraries have the resources

    that Philadelphians need and want. The collections at our neighborhood library branches support literacy initiatives, educational plans for students of all ages, and the lifelong love of learning for every Philadelphian.

    And so I'd also like to challenge the Library Foundation, the Friends groups, the non-profit sector, and our private donor community to match the City's proposed $200,000 for collections at our neighborhood branches.

    Our educational interests don't end when a student graduates from high school. To ensure that the Community College of Philadelphia, the City college of Philadelphia, is a viable and

    attractive post-secondary learning option

    for every Philadelphian, we will spend an

    additional $500,000 in FY15 to help

    offset rising tuition costs.

    And because learning outside

    the classroom is also important to the

    development of our young people, we will

    invest an additional $500,000 in the Department of Parks and Recreation to provide more programming options and expand recreation center hours across the City in Fiscal '15.

    I'm proud to announce that in order to counteract federal sequestration cuts that would hurt vulnerable Philadelphians, we will continue to invest an additional $1 million in the Office of Supportive Housing to help our homeless citizens.

    We will spend $5 million in FY15 on neighborhood commercial corridors to make improvements to curbs and sidewalks, landscaping, lighting, and parking to complement public and private

    investments.

    And we will provide $16 million

    to the Streets Department to pave roads

    across the City. I'd like to take a

    moment to acknowledge the exceptional

    efforts of our many snow-fighting City

    employees, starting with Streets

    Commissioner Dave Perri and all those who are out fighting these incredible storms during the course of this winter for months, battling bitterly cold temperatures and intense snowfalls during the third worst winter in the recorded history of the City of Philadelphia, including one storm just earlier this week. Let's recognize all of these great public servants.

  • (Applause.)

  • We will also make important investments in public safety to continue our progress.

    We will hire 400 new police officers in FY15 to maintain a sworn strength of 6,525 police officers in

    Philadelphia. We will welcome new

    classes of firefighters, paramedics, and

    EMTs to the Philadelphia Fire Department.

    And we will continue to make renovations

    to Police and Fire stations across the

    City, including breaking ground on the

    new Police Headquarters at 4601 Market

    Street.

    During the Great Recession, we weren't able to replace our City vehicles in a way that served our departments and our citizens well. But in our proposed FY15 budget, we will begin to invest again: $2 million from the operating budget for police vehicles and other City vehicles and $10 million in capital money for large specialty vehicles like fire trucks, EMS trucks, trash compactors, and new plowing equipment. In fact, the FY15 capital budget is $131 million, the largest capital budget since FY02.

    To strengthen safety and demolition oversight, we will fund 31 new positions in the Department of Licenses

    and Inspections. These new employees

    will supplement L&I's current emergency

    services inspectional staff to ensure

    safe public and private demolitions in

    accordance with the recent package of

    City Council legislation that I signed in

    response to the building tragedy at 22nd

    and Market.

    I want to thank Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. and all the members of City Council's Special Investigating Committee on Demolition Practices for their leadership on this issue.

    Our Administration, with the support and recommendations of City Council, is doing everything we can to ensure that this heartbreaking situation never happens again. The safety and well-being of our citizens is of the utmost importance to all of us.

    In the coming months, with Council's partnership and the expected recommendations from the Special Independent Advisory Commission to review

    and evaluate the Department of Licenses

    and Inspections, a commission created by

    my Executive Order, we will continue to

    make improvements to the construction and

    demolition process in our city.

    When I presented my first

    budget in 2008, I talked about my vision

    for a new day in Philadelphia and a new way to make it safer, cleaner, greener, smarter, a better Philadelphia.

    I don't think that any of us knew that we would face such a devastating recession and slow recovery. But I knew that our citizens were resilient and that Philadelphia was ready for change.

    Over the last six years, we have worked together to transform our city the way it works for and with our citizens. And we elevated our own expectations for what is possible in Philadelphia.

    When you talk about expectations, some have thought that we

    could not regain our stature in

    manufacturing in the country and around

    the world. Well, I just disagree.

    Working together with

    Councilman Bobby Henon and the Mayor's

    Manufacturing Task Force, I'm pleased to

    announce the creation of the Office of

    Manufacturing and Industry in the Commerce Department to coordinate and review the implementation of many of the Task Force recommendations.

    This office will be the focal point of the City's efforts and the coordinator for external activities and engagement with many of our partners, like PIDC and UII, CCP, and Philly Works and Select Greater Philadelphia and many others in advancing this critical sector.

    We can do big things in Philadelphia, and we will, working together.

    Our proposed budget focuses on our immediate needs and the long-term challenges of our city. It's a fiscal

    pledge of investment in our children, in

    our citizens, and in our neighborhoods.

    It's an investment in public

    education and public safety, the

    financial stability of the City's pension

    fund and the City as a whole.

    Today, we are on a different

    path, a path to a more prosperous Philadelphia. Let's keep working, together.

    Thank you, and God bless Philadelphia.

  • (Applause.)

  • Folks, excuse me. Excuse me, everyone. We still have to conclude our Council, so if you're going to leave, I'd ask that you please leave quietly so we can continue and have an adjournment of Council. Thank you.

    Folks, thank you very much. Thank you very much. For those of you who have left, you may have actually missed the best part of the Council session.

    Speeches on the part of the minority?

  • (No response.)

  • There being none, are there any speeches on the part of the majority?

  • (No response.)

  • The Chair recognizes Councilwoman Brown.

  • Thank you, Mr. President. I move, therefore, that Council stand adjourned until Thursday, March 13th, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

  • (Duly seconded.)

  • It's been moved and properly.

    All those in favor?

  • (No response.)

  • The ayes have it, and Council shall stand adjourned until Thursday, March 13th, 2014, 10:00 a.m.

    Thank you all very much.

  • (Stated Meeting adjourned at 11:55 a.m.)