Philadelphia City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. has said he’s gotten a “butt-whooping” from residents who are furious about their new property tax assessments.
Yesterday, Council gave something of a whooping back to Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration.
The assessments are the centerpiece of Nutter’s plan to fix the old, error-ridden numbers, and they’re expected to drive up many people’s property taxes.
At a budget hearing for the Office of Property Assessment, Council members questioned the accuracy of the assessments, despite all the models involved in calculating them.
“With so many variables, and so many differences, and so many unique natures of properties and neighborhoods,” Jones said, “it’s a wild-ass guess.”
Councilman Mark Squilla said that a large number of properties are under-assessed, meaning they owe less in property taxes than they should.
“There’s one that I just pulled up in the paper,” Squilla said. “They had received two offers at $750,000 … and the assessment comes in at $540,000. This is a major problem.”
Philadelphia’s Chief Assessment Officer Richie McKeithen stood by the city’s work. He said that some mistakes happen during any reassessment, and that the numbers will improve as time goes on.
“By us reassessing every year,” McKeithen said, “we will pick up more information, collect more data and have a better opportunity to come closer … to the actual sale price with the assessments.”