Philly budget hearings begin

In a process that will continue through May, budget hearings will get under way in Philadelphia Monday.

As City Council President Darrell Clarke said, “Let the games begin.”

The hearings will be centered around one central issue, just how low the property tax rate can be set while still balancing the budget. It’s an issue made more contentious than usual by AVI, the citywide reassessment of all properties.

“Fortunately, I think we will be in the position to pretty much maintain the service levels across the city of Philadelphia in this particular budget,” Clarke said. “The issue with respect to AVI and the relationship to the budget is clearly an issue. I anticipate that will dominate the conversation over the next two months.”

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Councilman Curtis Jones said he got an earful from his constituents on AVI during a meeting in the Wissahickon section of the city.

“I was not received well that night because they were showing me values that had doubled for those properties and tax rates that had almost tripled for those properties and they were not happy,” Jones said. “That was an AVI butt-whupping and you haven’t lived life as a council person until you have one.”

Council members will also hold budget hearings in various neighborhoods.

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