Want to understand Philadelphia’s property tax reform plan?

In the West Mt. Airy Neighbors’ (WMAN) final meeting before a summer recess, the association will hold an informational meeting on Philadelphia’s plan to update property tax assessments.

The plan called Actual Value Initiative (AVI) will likely change how much in taxes—home and business owners will have to pay in property taxes.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, June 12 at 7 p.m. at the Allens Lane Art Center, 601 West Allens Lane (at McCallum St.).

One added wrinkle to this debate has been Mayor Michael Nutter’s plan to secure additional funding to the Philadelphia School District, which is facing a $218 deficit.

Although it looks unlikely AVI will pass before the June 30 budget deadline, the proposal is stirring up quite a bit of talk among Philadelphians—and Mt. Airy is no different.

That’s why executive director Marilyn Cohen arranged for deputy administrator of the City’s Office of Property Assessments Michael Piper to come in and speak to residents.

The AVI discussion hosted by WMAN is part of its annual meeting, which should help ensure a larger than normal turnout for its meetings.

“I’ve had 40 people RSVP so far,” said Cohen. “This topic has stimulated a lot of interest.”

Cohen said she’s already solicited questions from members. She’s getting questions like these: How will all of this affect me? What is the process going to be to assess the values? How much will taxes increase? What will the percent market value be decided upon? When will the homes be reassessed? When can homeowners expect to see the new assessment in tax bills?

Because the issue is so worrisome to many WMAN members, Cohen says “The bulk [of the meeting] is going to be about AVI and how that will affect not only our tax bills in West Mt. Airy, but also the impact for our public school.”

Discussion of the school district, she said, is vital given the city’s proposed plans to hand it some cash from AVI.

But WMAN Vice President of Finance Martin Schmieg said the organization isn’t voicing support for AVI—they’re trying to be pro-solution. But the group does want what’s best for the area’s public school children.

“WMAN’s position is to support the city as best it can in providing a quality public education for the children who live in West Mt. Airy,” he said. “We understand that that may require the city to increase the amount of taxes it collects. We’re trying to make sure that the needs of our children are met by a fair tax system.”

Schmieg said the organization will continue to help residents stay informed.

In addition to the AVI discussion, WMAN will do an overview of the year’s happenings, vote on board members, talk about goals and get member input for the coming year, as well as reveal next year’s budget.

Please RSVP to wman@wman.net and send any questions you’d like the City to answer.

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