Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Council wants independent auditor to check city's reassessment process

Shortly after the city released data related to the Actual Value Initiative questions began to swirl about the accuracy of the new assessments.

Council wants independent auditor to check city's reassessment process

Bobby Henon. (Akira Suwa)
Bobby Henon. (Akira Suwa)

Shortly after the city released data related to the Actual Value Initiative questions began to swirl about the accuracy of the new assessments. 

And City Council has not been pleased with the answers it has received from the Office of Property Assessment (OPA) --the department that was charged with reassessing properties --about the methodology it used.

So today Councilmen Bobby Henon, David Oh and Council president Darrell Clarke introduced a bill today that would allow Council to hire an independent auditor that would audit OPA. The bill would also require OPA to release information related to its assessment process and demonstrate that its meets industry standards.  OPA would also be required to maintain their records for seven years and that information must be open to the public.  

"Right now we're not getting information," Henon said. "We're still not sure what methodology OPA and its assessors came up with in assessing real property in the city of Philadelphia. So for real checks and balances I think the audit is a direct and precise and concise way to get the proper data that we still have yet to receive."

Henon said in Washington D.C. which recently conducted a mass reassessment of its properties requires an annual publication of a report measuring the fairness and accuracy of assessments.

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Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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