Philadelphia City Council members question reassessment approach

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Curtis Jones Jr. Rikard Larma/METRO

Philadelphia City Council members said they’ve had their butts whipped.

Attending community meetings across the city, council members received hundreds of questions from concerned citizens—questions centered around formulas.

How is the city reassessing their home’s value under the Actual Value Initiative?

Under Mayor Michael Nutter’s AVI plan, properties will be assessed and taxed based on their true market value, rather than a predefined percentage.

At the second budget hearing yesterday, council members relayed those concerns as well as theirs at representatives of the Office of Property Assessment. The OPA is working to reassess all of the city’s 579,000 properties.

Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. said that with so many variables, he doesn’t think the asessments can be accurate.

“This is a wild-ass guess,” he said.

In his opening statement, OPA chief assessor Richie McKeithen said his office developed property valuation models based on statistical analysis.

About 100 evaluators have been deployed to evaluate the physical characteristics of homes in certain neighborhoods.

Council President Darrell Clarke and Councilmen William Greenlee and James Kenney expressed concerns that evaluators didn’t visit homes individually.

Councilwoman Cindy Bass said if AVI is supported by the city and the goal is to help and not hinder the citizens, “Then we need to do a better job trying to figure out how to reach them. I just think we’re not nearly where we need to be.”


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