City Controller: AVI undercuts poor, blacks

City Controller Alan Butkovitz presented a report Wednesday that he says shows the Actual Value Initiative is not going well.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz presented a report Wednesday that he says shows the Actual Value Initiative is not going well.

Carnegie Mellon University Professor Robert Strauss would not give AVI a passing grade.

“I’m grading final exams. … and the results we’re getting here would not lead to a passing grade,” Strauss said. “There is so much room for improvement.”

City Controller Alan Butkovitz, who hired Strauss to complete a study on the recent citywide property reassessments, presented a report Wednesday the two say shows the initiative is not going well.

Strauss said that among many issues with the reassessments under the new Actual Value Initiative is black people and poorer residents receive higher assessments, while the wealthier and whiter residents receive lower assessments.

Butkovitz paid Strauss $27,500 for the report.

Strauss said the assessment’s accuracy was below industry standards and were based on incomplete data.

Mark McDonald, Mayor Michael Nutter’s spokesman, said the administration “completely rejects the conclusions from this ‘so-called’ study.”

“So what we have here is a city controller who in the past for whatever reason has loudly attacked AVI. He then goes out and hires an ‘expert’ to do a report that supports his conclusions and then puts it out a couple weeks before a hotly contested primary election,” McDonald said.


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