By Matt Petrillo


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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s Property Assessment Office came under fire by City Council on Tuesday. At issue is last year’s dramatic property tax increases.

While the City Council did not raise taxes last year, thousands of people had to pay more because of a citywide property reassessment.

Philadelphia councilmembers gave an earful to the city’s Property Assessment Office, but shortly after, City Council got an earful from frustrated homeowners. Philadelphia homeowners sounded off at City Hall during a hearing over the city’s Property Assessment Office.

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“They haven’t been doing their job,” said one homeowner.

Another said, “We’re getting hit harder than anyone else and I’m not getting answers.”

The hearing comes after an audit released earlier this month that found huge increases in home assessments for thousands of homes in the 2019 tax year. The increases also differ depending where you might live.

Homeowners in Point Breeze saw their home assessments increase by an average 43 percent higher than last year. Brewerytown and Strawberry Mansion each saw a 47 percent increase.

In Fishtown, Gordon Stein’s property tax bill more than doubled.

“If one thing I can ask is just consistency across the board and a better way of doing this and assessing properties for what their worth,” said Stein.

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According to the audit, part of the problem is the city’s Assessment Office is relying on deficient data.

“If they’re looking at only new homes then they’re going to have a myopic view of what the actual value is,” said Jean-Paul Viera, of Fishtown Real Estate.

Now, City Council is working to make changes. One change is having the formula behind the assessment process available to the public to ensure the assessments are fair and accurate.

Mayor Jim Kenney agrees changes need to be made and, for now, is delaying citywide assessments.