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By Mike Dunn

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The dust from the 2013 reassessment of all properties in Philadelphia has barely settled, and city officials plan more reassessments in the next two years.

At a budget hearing, the mayor’s Chief of Staff, Everett Gillison, told council members that some appeals from the reassessment of two years ago are still unresolved. But even so, he said, more reassessments are coming:

“As fiscal (year) ’14 appeals are not yet complete, the Office of Property Assessment will complete a partial reassessment of for fiscal (year) ’16 of areas in the city where the residential properties may have been under or overvalued. The next citywide reassessment of all properties is projected to occur for fiscal (year) ’17.”

But the word “reassessment” strikes fear into the hearts of lawmakers up for re-election. So Gillison’s statement prompted questions from council members as to why new property values are needed so soon after the ones completed in 2013. First District Councilman Mark Squilla questioned Finance Director Rob Dubow:

(Squilla) “My concern is that you’re saying in ’17 you’re going to actually go and try to reassess the city again.”

(Dubow) “We’re going to try to do it annually. That was always the goal.”

(Squilla) “That was the goal. And we see what happens when we can’t reach that goal.”

What happens, according to Squilla, are a lot of properties socked with overly inflated property values:

“We mess up a lot of it. We don’t have time. We rush to get it done. And it seems like we’re really pushing something that we don’t need to do.”

Dubow admitted that the partial reassessment, scheduled for next year, is, in fact, to correct values where the assessors messed up two years ago:

“We’re doing assessments of all of the areas where the measures weren’t good.”

Dubow said he did not yet have the names of the neighborhoods that would be subject to the partial reassessment, though he promised that he would send it to Council next week. He said in ensuing years, the mistakes will be fewer:

“As we go into future years, the process will be easier, because we won’t be making up for decades of not having done assessments.”

But Squilla countered with what he said was a better plan: reassess every four years, rotating one quarter of the city each year:

“Every four years people would know they’re going to get assessed. It gives them an opportunity to either fix (the values), or its going to go up. And you may even get a lot less appeals.”

The 2013 reassessment came as the city moved to a new system dubbed the Actual Value Initiative. At the time, 23,000 property owners appealed their new values, and the Board of Revision of Taxes is still working its way through a backlog of those cases.

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