Nutter administration gives Council closer look at AVI data

Homeowners who were affected by the collapse of the housing market and a wave of foreclosure abuses may get a share of the $25 billion settlement announced Thursday morning.

The Nutter administration met with City Council members behind closed doors today to share more detailed data related to the city’s move to a new property-tax system based on market values known as the Actual Value Initiative (AVI).

Rob Dubow, the city’s finance director and other administration staff showed Council aggregate date for residential, commercial and industrial properties. Mayor Nutter announced recently that the total value of properties citywide is $98.5 billion and he’s eyeing a 1.3 percent property-rate or a 1.4 percent property tax with a homestead exemption.

Council said the administration will provide them with additional data in the coming weeks that will show the impact of AVI by neighborhood. Council also has their own consultant looking over the numbers.

“I feel better that we did not pass a 1.8 millage rate,” said Councilman Jim Kenney. Kenney was referring to last year’s AVI debate and the subsequent decision to delay it for a year because the rate continued to change.

“We’ve had our first cut on the aggregate and then there will be further discussion at a more detailed level about areas looking at median incomes to determine if they match the values of those properties,” said Council president Darrell Clarke. “We do have some concerns about individuals who may receive significantly increased tax bills and will not be in the position to pay them.”

Soon Council will be weighing its options on how best to protect homeowners from sharp property tax increases. Currently on the table is a homestead exemption that would lower assessments by $30,000 and a gentrification measure to help longtime residents in gentrifying neighborhoods.

Councilman Mark Squilla who led the charge to delay AVI for a year said his 1st district which includes Center City, Northern Liberties and Fishtown will likely get hit hard. He said, “I need to have a complete understanding of what the numbers are and how it will affect residents. Once we have numbers for the GMAs (neighborhood data) then we can dig down and figure out what protections we can put in place."