The rise in home values in Philadelphia has increased in last week’s property assessment. City Council became concerned about the way values are determined and are considering a bill that could give them final say on the property value. City Council is also calling for an independent audit of the values determined by the Philadelphia Office of Property Assessment. According to Philadelphia Code, a subsection states the agency has to be audited at least once every three years. This audit would be the first of its kind and is necessary to establish the accuracy of the Office of Property Assessment reassessment process
This new bill introduced to give the City Council a final say on what property values should be. At the moment, the Office of Property Assessment has the power to determine the values of how much property tax an owner has to pay. City Councilman, David Oh, proposed the bill that would give the Council members the power to approve or reject the reassessments. They will determine this if it exceeds the national urban Consumer Price Index. The CPI is a cost-of-living measure determined by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
PlanPhilly states that the Office of Property Assessment showed an average of 10.5% of an increase in property value across the city. Many neighborhoods saw an escalation in their property value, increasing as much as 47%. Legislative aide, Matthew Pershe, supported the legislation by saying, “this legislation would basically give Council veto power over untrustworthy assessment practices.” Matthew isn’t the only one supporting Oh’s bill. Council members Mark Squilla, Kenyatta Johnson, and Allan Domb are supporting his efforts to pass this legislation.
Along with the support, Oh will also face opposition. People feel there shouldn’t be elected officials involved in the process of administering assessments. It is believed to create a separation that promotes the values to be set in an “objective and disinterested way.” Though people want there to be more accountability in the assessment process, they also want to avoid taken away from the independence by adding politics to it.
Residents of Philadelphia will have a chance to vote on this amendment if it moves forward. It will be included in the November ballot.