By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Working late into the evening Thursday, City Council members reluctantly gave initial approval to an overhaul of Philadelphia’s property tax system. But, Council President Darrell Clarke stresses this is by no means a done deal.

“There could possibly be some additional amendments to these particular bills.”
Reporter: “So AVI is not a done deal?”
Clarke: “Nothing’s a done deal until you receive nine votes on final passage.”

Council members, by split votes, approved four bills, including one that moves the city to the new assessment system, dubbed Actual Value Initiative.

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.”

He says final votes could come next week.

“We continue to debate. This is a very troubling process, unlike any I’ve had to deal with in the 12 years that I’ve been here.”

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 $9 million 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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