Nutter, BRT Agree To Interim Reform

Here's the press release:


Memorandum of Understanding establishes Interim Executive Director, puts assessment function under responsibility of Finance Department

Philadelphia, October 7 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today an important step toward restoring public confidence in the property tax assessment system. Mayor Nutter and the Board of Revision of Taxes have reached an agreement which establishes the Finance Director (or his Designee) as the Interim Executive Director of the BRT and brings the assessment function under his/her responsibility.

This agreement, detailed in a Memorandum of Understanding, will remain in effect for an initial term of six months. The Interim Executive Director will immediately begin a review of all functions and operations of the BRT which will begin the process of reforming the system.

“I have been very clear that reforming the property tax assessment system is an urgent priority and we need to move as quickly as possible,” said Mayor Nutter. “I am committed to the goal of passing legislation this year which will be put to the voters in May 2010. I believe City Council shares this goal. In the meantime, we need to stabilize the system and restore public confidence, bringing the property tax assessment fully under the responsibility of the executive branch is an important step in this process.”

The Interim Executive Director will supervise all operations of the BRT relating to real estate appraisals, valuations, and assessments. The Board of the BRT will retain responsibility for matters relating to appeals of real estate valuations and will continue to make all determinations in the granting of exemptions to general real estate tax policy and any duties performed by the Board in connection with eminent domain proceedings conducted by the Board of View. The Finance Director shall report to the Mayor while keeping the Board fully apprised of day-to-day operations and future plans. The former Executive Director of the BRT resigned September 4th, 2009.

Mayor Nutter thanked the Board of the BRT for their cooperation on this matter.

Yesterday Mayor Nutter outlined his principles of reform for the BRT, describing a property tax assessment system which is accountable to the Mayor and citizens, which separates the appeals and the assessment functions, and whose employees are subject to the same requirements as other employees of the executive branch. These three components are essential reform components to any final legislative solution to the challenges the property tax assessment system.

“I look forward to continuing to work with City Council as we restore the public’s confidence in the property assessment system,” said Mayor Nutter.