Friday, August 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

With AVI assessments in the mail, Nutter says it's a 'historic day'

The Actual Value Initiative, or AVI, seeks to fix the city's highly inaccurate tax rolls, which for years have been the scorn of Philadelphians who received unpredictable and often unfair tax bills because of outdated assessments.

With AVI assessments in the mail, Nutter says it's a 'historic day'

Mayor Nutter said the unveiling of the new effort against tax deadbeats was not timed to coincide with the release of reassessment data. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)
Mayor Nutter said the unveiling of the new effort against tax deadbeats was not timed to coincide with the release of reassessment data. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)

As the city began mailing out its assessments of every plot of taxable land in the city on Friday - a major step in executing the new property-tax system slated for next year - Mayor Nutter said it was a “historic day” for Philadelphia.

“The broken system that unfairly undervalued or over-assessed residential, commercial and industrial properties in Philadelphia for decades will now be a thing of the past,” he said. “The old system is dead,” he said at a press conference. “For the first time, our property-tax system will be an accurate reflection of the real value of our properties.”

The Actual Value Initiative, or AVI, seeks to fix the city’s highly inaccurate tax rolls, which for years have been the scorn of Philadelphians who received unpredictable and often unfair tax bills because of outdated assessments.

For two years, city workers have canvassed Philly and reevaluated every plot of land. They determined that the city’s roughly 590,000 taxable properties are worth close to $100 billion in total.

On Friday, the result of their work will start making its way to taxpayers, most of whom should soon receive a notice indicating what the city thinks their land is worth. Residents can appeal the new valuations if they feel the city overshot by filing a complaint with the Office of Property Assessment. Instructions should be included in the mailings.

About 60 percent of residential property owners could be seeing a tax increase under the new system, although most increases will be small. Many commercial property owners, however, could see a decrease because there was less inaccuracy in recent assessments for those plots.

Nutter cautioned residents not to confuse the assessments with their tax bills. City Council must set a tax rate and consider exemptions - including ones to provide relief for homeowners - before actual bills based on the new system can be determined.

The mayor also said that the tax bill for his house, a two-and-a-half story home in Wynnefield, will actually go down, possibly by $460 to $588 depending on what Council decides.

Nutter said he and his wife will donate to the School District's accelerated programs in the amount of the difference in their tax bill.

About this blog
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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