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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 8, 2019 09:59 AM
From: Senator Anthony H. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Actual Value Initiative (AVI) Assessment Freeze
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to place a temporary freeze on rapidly increasing property assessment values under Philadelphia’s Actual Value Initiative (AVI). This bill will keep in place property valuations from tax year 2018 until such time that City Council has addressed the findings of its independent audit.

Last year’s AVI reassessment resulted in a citywide increase of eleven-percent, with some properties exceeding a fifty-percent increase in value over one year. Wide variances in similar properties on the same block led council members to question whether the Office of Property Assessment’s methodology is sound, resulting in city council’s direction of an independent audit. The results of that audit made public last week found that:
  • Assessments do not meet industry standards for residential and commercial properties as well as vacant land.
  • In many areas of the city, assessments are off, on average, by more than 15 percent.
  • Land values vary greatly among similar properties, showing that assessments are not uniform.
  • OPA has deficient data and does not document its procedures.
  • The assessment methods are not made public, making it difficult for property owners to determine how their values were calculated.
These fundamental issues must be addressed by Philadelphia’s policymakers and elected leaders to restore confidence and ensure equity in the property assessment process. Until such time, it is unfair to expect property owners to bear the financial burden of these mistakes.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation to ensure fairness and accuracy in Philadelphia’s property tax system. If you have any questions or comments, please contact my legislative office at 717-787-5970.

Thank you.