Tax payers are not funding Mayor Nutter's trip to Rome or the airfare and hotel costs of the five additional city representatitves joining him on the trip, the city's Director of Communications and Strategy, Desiree Peterkin-Bell said from Rome Tuesday.
Peterkin-Bell said similar to a trip Nutter took to Israel and London in 2013, funding was secured outside of the city's travel budget. She would not specify from where.
"No tax payer money is being used," Peterkin-Bell said in Rome, "but there is a huge vested interest for us to be here. It's critical, by nature because of all of the meetings taking place."
The March 2014 trip to the Vatican was funded by the World Meeting of Families - Philadelphia 2015, the nonprofit group that is fundraising for and organizing the 5-day Catholic conference and the Pope's visit to Philadelphia.
This year, Donna Crilley Farrell, Executive Director of the World Meeting of Families, said except for World Meeting of families staff, everyone in the delegation of 35, paid their own way.
"For this time, we are getting closer, we have many bills to pay, it was important to us that we only pay for staff," she said.
The four-day agenda includes meetings with Vatican officials in the Pontifical Council for the Family as well as a Vatican head of security. A meeting is also planned with the Mayor of Rome. The visit also includes tours of the Vatican gardens and museum and a private mass at Saint Peter's Basilica.
The delegation is a mix of city officials and World Meeting of Families staff and also community and business leaders, some who have been crucial in the fundraising effort to bring in $45 million.