WEEKLY REPORT: PROPERTY ASSESSMENT REVIEW DEADLINE EXTENDED; MEMBERS HONOR PHILLY HS CHEER SQUAD

In Council News, Uncategorized by PHL Council

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CITY EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR HOMEOWNERS TO APPEAL PROPERTY REASSESSMENTS

Brick row housesAs many Philadelphia property owners are just now absorbing the impact of large increases in their home assessments – which could mean higher property taxes next year – the Kenney administration has announced it is extending the deadline for homeowners to file an appeal of their assessment until December 2.

That appeal extension gives several hundred thousand property owners more time to review their new assessments, compare them with neighboring homeowners’ assessments, and file an appeal with the Office of Property Assessment, or OPA.

By now, homeowners should have received their new assessments in the mail from OPA, along with an appeal form, called a First Level Review. They now have until Friday, Dec. 2 to file that appeal with OPA. They can also call OPA at (215) 686-9200 with additional questions.

The extension of the deadline for property taxpayers was welcome news in City Council, where members have spent months advocating for longer deadlines for homeowners to consider their appeal rights, along with applying for other assessment relief programs.

For the past several months, Council has been communicating extensively with homeowners, through letters, over-sized postcards, and public service announcements on the radio, alerting homeowners about their rights, the appeal deadlines, and other programs designed to help them.

“This deadline extension is essential,” said Philadelphia Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District). “It will help ensure that Philadelphia homes are assessed accurately and Philadelphia homeowners are taxed fairly. The stakes are too high to not get this right. This new deadline will give homeowners the extra time they need to seek a review of their property assessments, in light of this year’s delay in mailing assessment notices. My heartfelt thanks to my Council colleagues for supporting the call for a deadline extension, and to Mayor Jim Kenney and Chief Assessment Officer James Aros for their partnership.”

Homeowners also have the opportunity to sign up for the city’s Homestead Exemption program, an initiative under which $80,000 of the assessed value of their homes can be exempted, a savings of $1,119 on their property taxes. The deadline to apply for the Homestead Exemption is December 1. Residents can call (215) 686-9200 to learn more and apply. Council raised the Homestead Exemption in June from $45,000 to $80,000.

Homeowners should also consider applying for two other programs – the Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) and the Senior Citizen Property Tax Freeze. These program deadlines are Sept. 30, 2023. Both programs can result in sizable property tax savings if homeowners are eligible. Residents should (215) 686-9200 to learn more.

COUNCILMEMBERS GYM, O’NEILL HONOR NORTHEAST PHILLY CHEERLEADING TEAM HEADED TO NATIONAL COMPETITION

Photo: School District of Philadelphia

Councilmembers Helen Gym (At Large) and Brian O’Neill (10th District) co-sponsored a resolution in Council honoring the George Washington High School Competitive Spirit Team, as it points towards a national cheerleading competition in January in Texas.

The joint resolution states that the George Washington school team “became the first public school team in the School District of Philadelphia to earn a spot in the National Cheerleaders Association High School Nationals Competition, the largest cheerleading competition in the world.”

“Under the leadership of Coaches Michele Sorkin-Socki and Veronica Hayes, the George Washington High School Competitive Spirit Team is the three-time reigning Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District XII Public League Champions in the Co-Ed Division and a PIAA 2022 state semifinalist in the Co-Ed Division,” the resolution states.

“The George Washington High School Competitive Spirit Team embodies resilience and perseverance, and will represent the very best of the City of Philadelphia at the Nationals Competition in Dallas, Texas, from January 21-22, 2023. The entire City of Philadelphia and City Council sends these young student athletes, their coaches, their families, and the entire George Washington High School community our gratitude and our best wishes on their continued success. They are truly our city’s national champions.”

After the Resolution was introduced, Councilmember Gym turned to the students, many of whom attended Thursday’s Council Meeting, and told them, “You are our champions, at a time when our City really needs you.”

COUNCIL TO HOLD HEARINGS INTO REPORTS OF QUESTIONABLE HOME LOAN AGREEMENTS

City Council will hold hearings examining a national home loan provider who is reportedly doing business in Philadelphia, and whose loan tactics in other cities have raised issues concerning potentially questionable behavior towards homeowners.

The resolution, introduced by Council Majority Leader Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District) on behalf of Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), authorizes Council’s Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development, and the Homeless to hold hearings examining MV Realty of Pennsylvania LLC, and their “Homeowner Benefits Agreement” and the impact these agreements may have on Philadelphia homeowners.

According to published news reports from Florida and other locales, MV Realty offers homeowners cash incentives up front to sign a “Homeowner Benefit Agreement” with the company – giving the firm the exclusive right to sell the home.

In the fine print of the agreement is language obligating the homeowner to use MV Realty to sell their home – for the next 40 years.

MV Realty records these agreements as mortgage deeds on the property which includes substantial penalties for failing to use MV Realty to sell the home.

More than 400 Philadelphia homeowners have signed Homeowner Benefits Agreements with MV Realty thus far, the resolution states.

MV Realty’s practices is impacting older lower-income homeowners within predominantly minority neighborhoods, according to the resolution.

Council President Clarke indicated to reporters following Thursday’s Council Meeting that several law enforcement agencies may already be looking into MV Realty’s practices and activities here in Philadelphia.

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IN OTHER NEWS…

Councilmember Mark Squilla (1st District) introduced a resolution honoring the 2022 Italian American Heritage Week, including a Mass on Sunday at 10 a.m. at St. Monica’s Church, 17th & Ritner Streets, followed by the traditional parade at Broad and Snyder Streets at 12 Noon. A festival follows in Marconi Plaza until 6 p.m

Councilmember Kendra Brooks (At Large) introduced a resolution expressing support for pending state legislation that would ensure pregnant, incarcerated women receive safe, dignified and humane medical care in Pennsylvania prisons and jails. Brooks’ resolution urges the State Senate and Governor Wolf to pass and sign House Bill 1419, the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act.

 

The next Stated Meeting of City Council is scheduled to take place on Thursday, October 13, 2022 at 10 a.m. in Philadelphia City Hall, Room 400 and will air on Xfinity Ch. 64, Fios Channel 40 and stream at www.PHLCouncil.com/watch.

Weekly Stated Meetings will be in-person for the remainder of the year. Masks will be recommended and provided.

Out of an abundance of caution and with the public’s health in mind, public hearings will continue to be conducted remotely.

Featured Photo: Jared Piper/PHLCouncil

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