Friday, August 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Council Asks: Why So Long To Spend City Capital Budget?

Most City Council budget hearings this year are expected to focus on how Philadelphia will spend its money in the face of a $1.4 billion gap in the five-year financial plan. But today's hearing, focused on the city's six-year capital budget, is off to a start with an unusual question: Why does it take the city so long to spend its cash?

Council Asks: Why So Long To Spend City Capital Budget?

Most City Council budget hearings this year are expected to focus on how Philadelphia will spend its limited supply of money in the face of a $1.4 billion gap in the five-year financial plan.  But today's hearing, focused on the city's six-year capital budget, is off to a start with an unusual question:  Why does it take the city so long to spend its cash?

"I think somebody has to explain why it takes so long, so long, for the city to spend its capital dollars," Council President Anna Verna said. "We just keep rolling the capital dollars over from one year to the next, from one year to the next."

Alan Greenberger, head of the City Planning Commission, and Mark Alan Hughes, a top policy aide for Mayor Nutter, told Council that capital projects -- building and physical improvement works -- are often complicated and take longer than planned.  Hughes said the capital budget always faces: "Twin and competing pressure. On one hand, spend it really fast. But on the other hand, spend it really well."

The capital budget includes new spending of $63 million for the fiscal year that starts on July 1 and $495 million for the life of the six-year plan.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
 Follow Chris on Twitter

Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
 Follow Sean on Twitter

PhillyClout Team
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected