Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Guess who donated to the splash fund?

Yesterday, Mayor Nutter announced some good news: the recreation department managed to raise enough money from outside sources to keep all city pools open this summer.

Guess who donated to the splash fund?

Yesterday, Mayor Nutter announced some good news: the recreation department managed to raise enough money from outside sources to keep all city pools open this summer.

Philadelphia's second annual Splash and Summer FUNd generated the $600,000 necessary to keep 70 city-owned pools open. Two other pools will be converted into spray grounds.

Budget constraints last year prevented 27 pools from opening in the summer.

That's good news, especially since it looks like we're going to have a hot summer. Major sponsors include banks, a private swim club, retail outlets, and a pharmaceutical company. However, the list of donors also includes one that struck us as a a little odd: the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

According to the city, the PPA donated $30,000 to the pool fund. We're all for charitable giving, but should public entities make these kinds donations? After all, the PPA is technically a state agency. Who decides what types of organizations or causes get funded by PPA revenue? What kind of controls are in place to make sure the money is spent wisely after it's been donated? Charitable giving by a public agency seems like a perk that could easily be abused.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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