By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter was all smiles today, one day after the Pennsylvania legislature approved a key portion of his new property assessment plan, dubbed “AVI” (see related story).

Despite misgivings voiced by some state lawmakers, the state House late last night okayed the Actual Value Initiative legislation, and Governor Tom Corbett is expected to sign it.

Mayor Nutter had monitored the fate of the bill and says he was relieved it passed.

“(It was) a full team effort,” he told KYW Newsradio this morning.  “We still have a lot of work to do.  I think the current schedule is that (property) values will be available in December.”

Notices of those new assessments are expected to be mailed out in February.  Then the mayor and City Council will face the biggest political and financial hot potato: setting the new tax rate.  That will be dealt with in the spring.

Councilman Mark Squilla is braced for a tough debate.

“The fear is, obviously, if we cannot do this in a certain way, that the real estate taxes will really increase,” Squilla says.

The new values will be the basis for property tax bills due in 2014.

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