BRT Board Makes Deal With City Official

The Board of Revision of Taxes board this morning unanimously voted to approve an agreement with the administration to temporarily hand assessment authority to the city finance department, according to a BRT staffer.

The embattled BRT board held hearings on the arrangement over a week ago, after the city solicitor deemed that the original closed-door deal violated the state Sunshine Act. Today's vote was not publicized on the BRT website.

The original agreement – known as a Memorandum of Understanding -- was approved by all six BRT members at an Oct. 7 meeting. But the deal came under fire for lack of transparency.

The understanding between the city and BRT is temporary. City Council is considering legislation that, if approved by voters, would abolish the BRT by 2011 and to create two new agencies: the Office of Property Assessment and the Board of Property Assessment Appeals.

The BRT came under fire this year with a series in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which detailed years of mismanagement, political patronage and flawed assessments at the agency.

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