Where the $184 Million in City Bonds We Approved Will Be Spent

The money will fund parks, transit, sanitation, municipal buildings, and community development.

City bond question

Bond questions have been on the ballot for the last six elections. And, yesterday, Philadelphia voters passed a ballot question, 65-35, authorizing a bond measure borrowing $184 million to fund capital purposes in five categories: Transit; Streets and Sanitation; Municipal Buildings; Parks, Recreation and Museums; and Economic and Community Development. At publication, the vote total was 264,083 votes for and 132,156 votes against (99.41 percent reporting).

As Holly Otterbein wrote earlier this week, the question is fairly straightforward: By voting yes to authorize the bond measure, the city will borrow that money to fund projects such as City Council has designated. According to the Committee of 70, capital purposes means “something of value with a useful life to the City of more than five years, for example, acquisitions of real estate, or construction of or improvements to buildings, property or streets.”

City Council has the power to change the allocation, but in September it passed a bill dedicating what funds would go where. Here’s a breakdown.

PROJECT FUNDING
Transit $4,683,131
Streets and Sanitation $33,436,080
Municipal Buildings $100,943,681
Parks, Recreation and Museums $25,740,061
Economic and Community Development $19,500,047
TOTAL $184,303,000

The right to vote on bond initiatives was part of the reforms of the 1950s. The city does carry an impressive debt load already. “The city’s debt and pension liabilities are heavy and will remain a drag on its credit profile for the long term,” Moody’s wrote in September.