City council considers abolishing BRT

    The embattled Philadelphia agency that sets property tax assessments, and hears taxpayers appeals, would be abolished under a proposal now before City Council.

    The embattled Philadelphia agency that sets property tax assessments, and hears taxpayers appeals, would be abolished under a proposal now before City Council. The bill would divide the Board of Revision of Taxes into two separate entities that would answer to the mayor. Council will hold hearings on the legislation today.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091026spbrt.mp3]

    The bill to overhaul the agency came after newspaper reports revealed corruption, inaccurate property assessments and patronage.

    But critics say it falls short of addressing patronage, singling out the 80 employees who work for the BRT but are paid by the school district. Those employees cost the district $4 and a half million dollars a year and can engage in political activity.

    Helen Gym is with the group Parents United for Public Education.

    Gym says with the school district talking about plugging a budget shortfall by cutting services, City Council should tackle the issue.

    Gym: This is the sacrifice that we’re looking at, $4.5 million for employees salaries or $4 million dollars directly out of children’s schools, that’s money directly handed to the schools.

    The School Reform Commission initially said it would not continue to pay for the BRT employees after September but has since extended those payments.

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