Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What could the city sell off in 2012?

Mayor Michael Nutter has created a task force to examine selling city assets, among other things. Though a report from the task force isn't due until mid-2013, the city expects to hold public meetings on the idea before then.

What could the city sell off in 2012?

AP Photo/Amy Sancetta
Travel Deals

As part of WHYY's series "Just You Wait," which explores the words and phrases that you might hear a lot about this year, I was on the radio yesterday talking about public asset sales.

Public asset sales are when governments sell off their properties or utilities, like airports, parks or parking meters.

There are a few reasons why asset sales are poised to become the next big thing.

Mayor Michael Nutter has created a task force to examine selling city assets, among other things. Though a report from the task force isn't due until mid-2013, the city expects to hold public meetings on the idea before then.

Which assets should the city sell?
Parking meters
Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW)
The water department
All of the above, and then some
Nothing, our tax dollars built this stuff

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said the task force, which is chaired by former mayoral candidate Tom Knox, is holding its first meeting today.

Also, Council president Darrell Clarke supports the idea of public asset sales and wants the city to look at different ways to raise money. At the inauguration last week, he said, "I believe we can use the assets we have in new ways to help create jobs and raise revenues."

Last year, Clarke floated the idea of selling or leasing the city's parking meters to raise money.

Council commissioned a report last year to examine ways to raise money and reduce costs. The report, which was done by Econsult Corporation, said, "If the city sold more assets to private companies or entities, including major parks, roads, bridges and buildings, it could potentially generate $100 million or more in upfront funds."

The report also said that this fiscal year's budget expects to yield about $2.5 million in capital asset sales, but "more aggressive and systematic disposition of capital assets could yield the city $5 million or more in net revenues."

Additionally, Councilman Bill Green plans to introduce a bill this year that would require that proceeds from public asset sales over a minimum amount — say, $1 million — be used to pay down the pension. He expects to hold hearings on the issue this year.

So will there be a "For Sale" sign at the airport this year? Not yet. But the public is likely to weigh in on asset sales at hearings in 2012 — which could become very contentious. And there might be more small-scale public asset sales (think buildings) in the near future, too.

You can listen to the full radio piece here.

Follow us on Twitter and review city services on our sister site, City Howl.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
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.

It's Our Money contributors

Tips? Comments? Questions?

Holly Otterbein:

It's Our Money
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter