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City Council Members Continue Budget Negotiations

By Mike Dunn

Working late into the evening Thursday, City Council members reluctantly gave initial approval to an overhaul of Philadelphia’s property tax system. But the Council president stresses this is by no means a done deal.

Council members, by split votes, approved four bills, including one that moves the city to a new assessment system dubbed AVI. Council President Darrell Clarke stresses that approval though doesn’t mean AVI is guaranteed to happen.

“Until we vote on whatever measure we vote for final passage, it’s still a part of a process.”

Along with AVI approval, council okayed raising a separate tax that affects commercial property owners — with revenues from both totaling $85 million for the school district. That’s nine less than what the district had sought, but the mayor’s finance director, Rob Dubow, was pleased.

“We would rather have seen 94 million. But we’re grateful that the bills have come out of committee.”

Haggling over the overall budget will continue.

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