Why won't Nutter administration hold AVI meetings in Blackwell's district?

For the first two days of budget hearings City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell had a serious bone to pick with the Nutter administration.

"They don't want to send [administration officials] to my district," Blackwell said on Monday during a hearing on the proposed five-year plan.

Blackwell was referring to a series of community meetings the administration was holding throughout the city to inform residents about the Actual Value Initiative, a new property-tax system based on market values and relief measures.

Those meetings came to an abrupt end in Blackwell's 3rd district which includes parts of West Philadelphia, University City, Mantua and Southwest Philadelphia after a community meeting two weeks ago got a bit "ugly" as city finance director Rob Dubow described it.

Chief Assessment Officer Richie McKeithen of OPA, who attended that meeting said residents there were aggressive, adding it "makes you uncomfortable." McKeithen said he was not physically assaulted, but that the meeting was intense. 

Council president Darrell Clarke said he too has attended AVI meetings that could be described as "ugly," but he does not have the "luxury of not going to the next one."

"How can you just simply say because it was a contentious meeting that we're not going there, in the entire Council district," he asked.

Administration officials said they would follow-up with Blackwell.

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