Reporting Mike Dunn
By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The single biggest issue facing Mayor Nutter and City Council during 2012 involved a plan to overhaul Philadelphia’s property tax system.
In March Mayor Nutter unveiled his new budget and the centerpiece of the plan was his desire to implement ASAP, a new property assessment system dubbed the Actual Value Initiative, or AVI.
“This reform needs to be made, and it needs to be made now,” said the mayor.
Nutter coupled his plan to move to AVI with a desire to get an extra $94 million dollars in property tax revenue to the school district.
City Council members were flummoxed because the reassessments of every single property in the city were not yet complete and some members, like Mark Squilla, bristled at having to vote on the plan before they saw the raw numbers.
“My mother always told me never dive into the water if you can’t see the bottom. And you know what, this is what we’re doing at this time,” said Squilla.
He proposed waiting one year, and his colleagues agreed.
In the end Council raised $40 million more for the schools through other means, less than half what the mayor had sought, and delayed implementation of AVI until 2013.
That promises again to be the single biggest battleground in City Hall in the new year.