By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In Philadelphia, a long-planned overhaul of the city’s property assessment system finally became reality, and it was by no means easy.
The Actual Value Initiative, or “AVI” became the most battled-over program in City Hall during 2013. It involved a reassessment of every single residential and commercial property in Philadelphia, and with it came the reality that some homeowners would end up paying higher tax bills in 2014. Council members like Curtis Jones of the 4th District got an earful from constituents:
“I took an AVI butt-whooping (at a community meeting) up in Upper Swissair,” Jones said. “And you haven’t had your butt whooped by the taxpayers until you have an AVI butt-whooping.”
And others, like Councilman Mark Squilla, openly questioned the accuracy of the assessments:
“I would believe that we would want to make sure that we protect our residents from inflated bills that aren’t accurate,” said Quill.
The Nutter Administration stood by the accuracy of the assessments, but the mayor and council agreed to relief measures, including a program which protects longtime residents in gentrified neighborhoods whose assessments more than tripled. Council President Darrell Clarke said more tweaking may be needed:
“So we will continue to work with AVI to get it to the place it needs to be,” he said, “so everyone can feel comfortable with the implementation.”
The first tax bills which use AVI are due in February and March of this coming year.