|Last mayoral election:||2011|
|Next mayoral election:||2015|
|Last city council election:||2011|
|Next city council election:||2015|
|City council seats:||17|
|2015 FY Budget:||$4.5 billion|
|Population in 2013:||1.55 million|
White Not-Hispanic 36.6%
African American 44.3%
Native American 0.8%
Pacific Islander 0.1%
Two or More 2.3%
|Median household income:||$37,016|
|High school graduation rate:||80.4%|
|College graduation rate:||23.2%|
|Related Philadelphia offices|
|Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation|
Pennsylvania State Legislature
Pennsylvania state executive offices
- 1 City government
- 2 Elections
- 3 Budget
- 4 Contact information
- 5 Lobbying
- 6 Ballot measures
- 7 Public pensions
- 8 Website evaluation
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 11 References
The city of Philadelphia utilizes a "strong mayor" and city council system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city's primary legislative body while the mayor serves as the city's chief executive.
The mayor serves as the city's chief executive and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, appointing departmental directors and overseeing the city's day-to-day operations. The mayor also represents the city on the state, national and international levels. Michael Nutter is the current Mayor of Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia City Council is the city's primary legislative body. It is responsible for adopting the city budget, approving mayoral appointees, levying taxes and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances.
The Philadelphia City Council is made up of seventeen members. Ten are elected by the city's ten districts, while the other seven are elected at-large.
A current list of council members can be found here.
The Philadelphia City Council features twenty-two standing committees, which focus on individual policy and legislative issues. Generally, the drafting of city legislation begins with the committees.
A current list of Philadelphia City Council committees can be found here.
Boards and commissions
A series of advisory boards and commissions that are made up of non-elected citizens, whom city council members have appointed and approved, advises the Philadelphia City Council. The roles of these boards and commissions are to review, debate and comment upon city policies and legislation and to make recommendations to the city council.
For a full list of Philadelphia city boards and commissions, see here.
The city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will hold elections for mayor and city council on November 3, 2015. A primary election will take place on May 19, 2015. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election is September 19, 2015. All 17 city council seats are up for election.
The budget for fiscal year 2015 totals $4.5 billion, and includes increased funding for the Department of Licenses and Inspections, $45 million for potential labor obligations, $132 million in capital investments, $3 million for technology upgrades, $15 for parks and recreation and $16 million for repaving roads.
The city's budget process operates by Fiscal Years running from July 1 to June 30 of the next year. Fiscal Years are named by the year in which they end, not when they begin. The Mayor drafts and proposes a budget to the City Council, who then debates the budget. The City Council must adopt the budget by a majority vote, and once adopted the Mayor signs the budget into law. Because the city is required by law to have a balanced budget, the Mayor's initial proposal is particularly important. The City Council cannot propose changes to the budget that require it to spend more money than the Mayor's projected incomes.
1401 John F Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Office Hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday - Friday
Office of the Mayor
Room 215 City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Office Hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday - Friday
In 2013, Philadelphia's federal lobbying related expenses amounted to approximately $242,500. The issues for which the city filed in 2013, as well as the number of reports, can be seen in the box below. The issues column lists the generic issues that lobbyists working for local governments are required by law to disclose on quarterly federal disclosure forms. The reports column gives the number of reports lobbyists filed in regards to each generic issue. To learn more about the details of the specific issues for which Philadelphia filed reports, read the federal disclosure forms by clicking the "Issues" links in the box below. Philadelphia maintains a database of all lobbying activity associated the city. It can be accessed here.
|Federal Lobbying Issues, 2013|
|3||Aviation, Airlines & Airports|
|2||Economics & Econ Development|
|1||Law Enforcement & Crime|
|1||Labor, Antitrust & Workplace|
|1||Travel & Tourism|
|1||Firearms, Guns & Ammunition|
Philadelphia is governed by a charter. Initiative is available for charter amendments as provided below:
Petition form: The name and address of the person filing the petition must be clearly stated on the petition.
Signature requirements: Petitions must contain signatures equal to 10% of the last local, general election vote for governor.
Circulation period: Petitions must be submitted by the 13th Tuesday before the election. Petitions may be circulated for (at most) 7 weeks, and circulation may not begin before the 20th Tuesday prior to the election. Initiated measures may be submitted at primary, municipal, or general elections.
Circulator restrictions: In 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down Pennsylvania's in-district residency requirement with respect to nomination petition circulators. It is unclear how this decision affects the requirement as applied to initiative petition circulators.
Notary requirement: Yes, petition circulators must attest to the validity of petition signatures in a notarized affidavit. The law itself does not seem to specify that the affidavit be notarized. However, this state-published guide says notarization is required:
Submitting signatures: The petition must be filed with local election officials.
Election procedure: Election officials must submit successful initiatives to voters at the next primary, general, or municipal election occurring not sooner than the 13th Tuesday after the initiative was filed.
Majority required: No supermajority requirement found.
Conflicting measures: If two or more conflicting measures are approved, the measure receiving the largest number of affirmative votes prevails over the others.
Subject restrictions: No pension cuts for current/former employees.
Pensions: Charter cities and counties may not reduce the rights/privileges/benefits entitled to retired municipal employees.
General: With respect to certain issues, a city's charter may not change the powers usually granted to cities of its class. Those issues are as follows:
- 1. Filing and collection of municipal taxes
- 2. Exercising the power of eminent domain
- 3. Changing local boundaries
- 4. Regulating public schools
- 5. Voter registration and the conduct of elections
- 6. Fixing which things are subject to taxation
- 7. Setting tax rates of non-property or personal taxes for nonresidents*
- 8. Assessing real or personal property and persons for tax purposes
- 9. Setting punishments for felonies or misdemeanors
- 10. Municipal planning under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.
- *Charter cities/counties are not subject to caps on tax rates for residents, but are not permitted to levy a larger tax on nonresidents than permitted in general law cities.
In addition, charter cities/counties may not:
- 1. Engage in private business (except as permitted by state law)
- 2. Exercise powers "contrary to or in limitation or enlargement of" powers granted by statutes of statewide application
- 3. Reduce the rights/privileges/benefits entitled to retired municipal employees
- 4. Enact consumer protection regulations on goods or services already regulated under state law, unless the local regulations are identical with state regulations
- 5. Enact laws contrary to state municipal labor laws enacted prior 1972*
- 6. Determine withholding/tax reporting requirements for business except as expressly provided by state law.
- 7. Regulate firearms
- 8. Impose retroactive fees for municipal services already provided.
- *Cities that are or were "second class A" cities, may reduce police or firefighting forces for economic reasons.
State statutes that apply throughout the state always supercede municipal ordinances or resolutions.
- See also: Pennsylvania public pensions
The city's unfunded pension liability was $4.5 billion as of July 1, 2012. In response, the city shifted some workers to a hybrid system with a 401(k)-style portion and gave others the option of joining the new plan or contributing more of their own pay to stay with their current benefits.
According to a 2010 report published at Northwestern University, Philadelphia was one of the ten municipalities with the largest amount of unfunded pension liabilities. Nationwide there was $574 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for local pension plans in addition to the $3 trillion in debt facing state-sponsored pension plans. The report stated that the pension plans could be out of money as early at 2025.
- See also: Evaluation of Pennsylvania city websites
|Transparency grading process|
- Budget reports are posted.
- Council members are listed with contact information.
- Meeting dates, agendas, and minutes are posted.
- Taxes can be paid online.
- Local tax information is provided.
- City contracts and bids are posted.
- Ethics legislation and financial disclosure requirements are available through the city's Board of Ethics.
- Permits and zoning information is provided.
- Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports are posted.
- The city's Open Records Policy and contact information is posted.
- A searchable phone directory is available. Administrative contact information can also be found within each department.
- Direct contact information is not provided for the Mayor. Contact information for written meeting requests is provided only.
- Does not disclose if it is part of a taxpayer funded lobbying organization.
- Cities in Pennsylvania
- Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
- Largest 100 U.S. cities by population
- Ten cities facing the worst of the pension crisis
- Official city website
- Office of the Mayor
- New York City Council
- Philadelphia Office of the Director of Finance
- Philadelphia City Charter
- United States Census Bureau, "American Fact Finder," accessed April 24, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Government Organization," accessed on October 29, 2014
- Philadelphia City Charter, 1.101-102, accessed on October 29, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Office of the Mayor," accessed on October 29, 2014
- Philadelphia City Charter, 1.102, accessed on October 29, 2014
- Philadelphia City Council, "About," accessed on October 29, 2014
- Philadelphia City Council, "Standing Committees," accessed April 30, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Boards and Commissions," accessed on October 29, 2014
- Office of the Philadelphia City Commissioners, "Comprehensive Election Calendar," accessed November 17, 2014
- bizjournals.com, "Nutter's budget: Expanded L&I, $16M for Streets Dept.," March 6, 2014
- philadelphiaforward.org, "Intermediate Budget Info," accessed April 30, 2014
- Open Secrets, "City of Philadelphia, PA," accessed April 30, 2014
- U.S. House of Representatives: Office of the Clerk, "Lobbying Disclosure Act Guidance," accessed on November 11, 2014
- Open Secrets, "Methodology," accessed on November 11, 2014
- Pennsylvania Department of State, "Instructions for Circulating Nomination Petitions," accessed on October 30, 2014
- Associated Press, "Atlanta to San Diego: 7 cities' pension problems," January 2, 2013
- MacIver Institute, "City of Milwaukee Pension a Ticking Time Bomb According to Northwestern Study," October 12, 2010
- City of Philadelphia, "Budget Details," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Council Members," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Meeting Calendar," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Taxes," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Tax Revenue Department," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "eContracts," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Permits & Certificates," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Planning Department," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Right to Know," accessed August 6, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Phone Directory," accessed August 6, 2014