Real estate tax collections are down in Philadelphia, and the city controller is asking why. Part of the answer may involve unresolved questions related to the actual value initiative, or AVI, the citywide reappraisal of property values.
Real estate tax collections so far this year are down by about $20 million compared with the same period two years ago, said City Controller Alan Butkovitz.”The Nutter administration estimated that when AVI was implemented there would be a significant increase in tax revenues. We don’t know if this is the result of carryover of unresolved appeals or whether if people who can’t afford them are just not paying,” Butkovitz said. “It really has gone unexplained by the city’s finance officials.”Butkovitz says his research into AVI showed lingering problems.”We did a lot of work on AVI,” he said. “Our view was there were a lot of errors in the assessments, there was a lot of overassessment, and there was a lot of sticker shock on places like Grays Ferry where people simply couldn’t afford the freight.”The Nutter administration declined comment on the controller’s report.