Philly City Council gets bill meant to address homeowners' concerns on rising assessments

Philadelphia City Hall
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Many Philadelphia homeowners have been dismayed to see their property taxes rise as a result of new assessments, so Councilman Brian O'Neill introduced a bill Thursday that he believes is a solution.

O'Neill says his bill would make new assessments "revenue neutral." In other words, if the city estimated that new assessments raised overall property values in the city, the tax rate would be lowered by a proportional amount.

"You bring it down to where taxpayers can be confident that, while they may be upset about their assessment, they may think it's wrong, it's not being driven by a back-door tax increase policy that no one has control over," he said. 

Administration officials say they're open to discussions about the proposal but add that costs rise along with property values and they're concerned that keeping revenue neutral would lead to cuts in services. They also note that revenue increases from the property tax were less than ten percent from the previous year, which fits the state definition of revenue neutral.

O'Neill introduced another bill that would increase the amount by which taxes are reduced under the homestead exemption, which is for owner-occupied homes.