|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|
Office of the Mayor
Philadelphia's legislative body is the City Council, made up of 17 members from ten council districts and seven at-large members. The City Council meets every at 10:00 AM.
A full list of City Council members can be found here.
There are 22 council committees: Appropriations, Commerce & Economic Development, Disabled & Special Needs, Education, The Environment, Ethics, Finance, Fiscal Stability & Intergovernmental Cooperation, Housing, Global Opportunities & Creative Innovative Economy, Law & Government, Labor & Civil Service, Licenses & Inspections, Legislative Oversight, Public Health & Human Services, Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs, Public Safety, Property & Public Works, Streets & Services, Rules, Technology & Information Services and Transportation & Public Utilities.
The city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will hold elections for mayor and city council in 2015. Information on election dates will be posted once they are made available. 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
The City of Philadelphia paid for $192,500 in federal lobbying in 2013. The city filed for three issues relating to Transportation, three relating to Urban Development, two relating to Health Issues, two relating to Housing and one each relating to Economics & Economic Development, Immigration, Law Enforcement & Crime, Labor, Antitrust & Workplace, Taxes, Travel & Tourism and Firearms, Guns & Ammunition.
The City of Philadelphia maintains a database of all lobbying activity here.
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
- United States Census Bureau, "American Fact Finder," accessed April 24, 2014
- City of Philadelphia, "Mayor's Biography," accessed April 30, 2014
- Philadelphia City Council, "About," accessed April 30, 2014
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- Philadelphia City Council, "Standing Committees," accessed April 30, 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
- Pennsylvania Department of State, "Instructions for Circulating Nomination Petitions," 2012
- https://web.archive.org/web/2/http://news.yahoo.com/atlanta-san-diego-7-cities-220928111.html/ 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, "Board of Ethics," accessed August 6, 2014 (dead link)
- 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