Actual Value Initiative
Last year City Council and Mayor Nutter approved a bit of a break: if an appeal of a new assessment was not resolved by the time tax bills were due, owners could pay the original amount, then settle up when the appeal is later resolved.
Jennifer Schultz, of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, testified that the new assessment system known as “AVI” (Actual Value Initiative) left many homeowners confused and scared.
Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez proposes upping the school district’s share from 55 percent to 60 percent, which she says would shift about $53 million per year from the city to the schools without raising taxes.
“We need the BRT right now,” Councilman Mark Squilla says. “We need them to have these hearings. We need them to make sure they’re fair and as soon as possible.”
The Actual Value Initiative, or “AVI” became the most battled-over program in City Hall during 2013.
It is the second major relief program to result from the new property assessments that were mailed out earlier this year, for tax bills that are due early next year.
The initial reviews of about 25,000 property assessments won’t be completed before the deadline to file a formal appeal, so the city is urging property owners to proceed without waiting.
After months of debate, Council president Darrell Clarke says he’s proud of the final version of the Actual Value Initiative that Council has approved.
The Pew analysis of the new assessments finds that the percentage of property taxes borne by individual homeowners compared to other owners will go from about 54 percent under the old system to about 60 percent under AVI.
The discussion, titled “Philadelphia Taxes — Past, Present and Future.” was organized by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Temple University’s Center on Regional Politics.
Councilman at-large David Oh says questions abound over the accuracy of the new assessments, and he says the methodology released last week did not clear up how the new property values were calculated.
BRT executive director Carla Pagan says the time required will be determined by the number of formal appeals filed, which she estimates could range between 10,000 and 50,000, or more.
Clarena Tolson, the longtime Philadelphia streets commissioner, is now the revenue commissioner.
A package of bills designed to reduce the sticker shock associated with the overhaul of Philadelphia’s property tax structure has cleared a state House committee.
Under current regulations, homeowners would have to pay the new — and possibly higher — bill and then get reimbursed if they win the appeal.