Philadelphia asks voters for $181 million bond measure
Philadelphia is looking to tackle infrastructure investments through a $181 million bond referendum.
Tuesday's general obligation bond question requests money to upgrade municipal buildings, roads, parks and museums throughout Pennsylvania’s largest city. Voters passed a similar $172 million debt measure with 69% support in 2017.
"The city is borrowing to, among other things, make essential, long term investments in facilities like police stations, firehouses and recreation centers and in critical infrastructure like roads,” said Mike Dunn, a spokesman for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “These investments are crucial.”
The city plans to designate more than half of the borrowing, $97 million, toward enhancements for municipal buildings along with $36 million for street and sanitation upgrades. Another $26 million of the bonds is slated to improve city parks, recreations and museums with $14.6 million planned for economic and community development projects.
Philadelphia is requesting the new GO debt authorization as it gears up to fund its “Rebuilding Community Infrastructure” initiative that will be derived mainly from separate bonds backed by city revenues. Near-term infrastructure improvements to city-owned assets like the Philadelphia Zoo and the Philadelphia Art Museum are also planned from funding in the city's 2019 fiscal year capital budget.
Dunn said Philadelphia had $1.6 billion of total outstanding debt as of June 30 and that the city is not planning to seek any additional GO bonds until the 2020 fiscal year. The city has GO bond ratings of A from S&P Global Ratings, A2 from Moody’s Investors Service and A-minus from Fitch Ratings.