FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(PHILADELPHIA) Thursday April 18, 2013—Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a resolution calling for hearings to investigate the coordination between various City commissions, departments and agencies on the Actual Value Initiative (AVI) in the City of Philadelphia. The resolution was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Marian B. Tasco. During the Office of Property Assessment’s March 2013 budget hearing, it was revealed that many homeowners in the City were not informed, educated or fully aware of the proposed AVI initiative, and out of 340,000 property owners eligible for the Homestead Exemption, only 183,000 applications were received. Evidence suggests that certain categories of homeowners may require additional or alternative methods of outreach, particularly those homeowners who lack regular internet access, including the elderly and low income, and those who have limited English proficiency. “AVI outreach must be a collaborative, team effort with all hands on deck from all City departments. I join several City Council colleagues who have concerns that citizens, especially seniors, vulnerable populations and other hard to reach groups are not being adequately informed about what AVI means to them, and of protections available to them,” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown. “We cannot assume that we have 340,000 homeowners who are glued to the news each day looking for the latest update on AVI. It is in the best interest of our citizens for all City departments to work together to be in neighborhoods, in churches, in living rooms and to leave no stone unturned in the effort to get this information into the hands of our constituents—the burden is on government to reach out.” The hearing will occur in Council’s Committee of the Whole in concert with similar AVI hearings called by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and Council President Darrell Clarke.
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