Philadelphia businesses and homeowners have been hit with massive property assessment increases as the city instituted the Actual Value Initiative. Now the City Council wants an independent audit of the property values produced under the AVI.
The Office of Property Assessment completed this year's annual assessment ahead of the deadline. This enabled city officials to revise the needed increases in property and real estate transfer taxes.
The citywide increase of 11 percent on average allowed the new proposal to cut the requested property tax increase from six percent to four percent and the local portion of the real estate transfer tax from 8.5 percent to six percent. Hearings are currently underway and the budget will be adopted in the coming weeks.
The City Council issued a Request for Proposals for qualified auditors to complete a statistical analysis of the performance of the appraisers and the accuracy of their assessments. In areas where the audit determines that the Office of Property Assessment failed to meet requirements, the auditor will provide recommendations.
"This audit will establish the rigor and accuracy of the annual reassessment process," said Council President Darrell L. Clarke. "Philadelphians are rightly alarmed by the average 11 percent increase in property assessments released by the administration, directly on the heels of Mayor Kennedy's Fiscal Year 2019 budget request of a property tax increase and a transfer tax increase. The administration has since adjusted its proposed tax increases downward, but it is imperative for the public to have confidence in the integrity of the system."