Councilwoman Cindy Bass (8th District) issues a statement on the most recent property assessments, which in some cases resulted in drastically increased property values.
“I am very concerned about the most recent round of property assessments by the Office of Property Assessment, which resulted in sometimes sharply increased property values. It seems like a convenient time to see such an unusual jump in property values around the City, coming after the Mayor called for a property tax increase in his annual budget proposal. As a result, in an effort to protect City residents my office is looking at this process in detail, and plans to organize services to aid constituents with property reassessment appeals. In addition, I fully support the call by Council President Darrell Clarke to issue a request for proposals for an independent audit of the OPA.
There are homes that will see thousands of dollars in increased tax costs just because of the reassessment. Parts of the 8th District have been hit especially hard. One Chestnut Hill property saw a $2,100 hike in its tax bill, representing a 27 percent property tax increase. A Mount Airy property we looked at will see its tax bill rise by more than $300, a 12 percent increase, under the newly assessed valuations. There’s an idea that the reassessment raised property values by 11 percent, but that’s not entirely true. That’s an average. Some property values have seen much, much higher increases.
Philadelphia is the poorest big city in the country. More than a quarter of our City’s population lives in poverty and on top of the reassessment value increase, we’re talking about increasing taxes again, without considering family income or stagnant wages. That doesn’t make sense to me.
We would expect regular assessments to raise property values by an average of about two to three percent. The timeliness of such drastic value increases calls for a closer examination of the OPA assessment process. It is my hope that through an independent audit, Council can hold the City accountable for the accuracy of its assessment and affirm public trust.”
# # #
Councilwoman Cindy Bass represents the 8th Council District, which includes Germantown, Mt. Airy, Nicetown, Tioga, Chestnut Hill, portions of Logan, and West Oak Lane. She is Chair of Council’s committees on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and Public Health and Human Services.