Mayor Nutter stands by reassessments

budweiser made in america
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter held a press conference at Philadelphia City Hall to announce details of upcoming Labor Day weekend concert, Budweiser Made In America. Photograph from Tuesday, August 28, 2012. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

Mayor Nutter defended the city's reassessment of over 579,000 properties at a news conference today after some elected officials raised concerns that the numbers may be off.

Council members including Mark Squilla and Kenyatta Johnson have said recently that some of the assessments appear to be inaccurate. City Controller Alan Butkovitz requested on Tuesday information from the administration pertaining to its assessment process. And a recent report from Axis Philly showed that 40 percent of the assessments do not meet industry standards.

"I think it's very clear that some of the information the Controller has put out is just inaccurate and wrong,"Nutter said. "But I think it is unfortunate if that is an effort to just basically scare the hell out of people."

Butkovitz, who is up for reelection and rumored to be a 2015 mayoral candidate has been a vocal critic of the Actual Value Initiative, a new property-tax system based on market values.

When asked if he was concerned that AVI would be politicized, Nutter said: 

"I could not imagine any elected officials in this city engaging in that kind of activity about something so serious...," he said. "I don't know any who are that irresponsible."

Next week Nutter will deliver his budget address. He said the goal is to have the lowest tax rate in addition to providing relief under AVI. Squilla proposed phasing in increased and decreased tax bills over a four year period.

But Nutter said the phase in would "delay those who rightly should be getting the lower bill right now when they've been over paying for decades."

Nutter also provided information on info sessions where residents can learn about AVI, how to file a first level review and the homestead exemption. So far the city has recieved 6,000 requests for first-level review.