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Philadelphia Homeowners Fed Up With Increasing Property Tax Bill

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Controversy is heating up over property tax bills in Philadelphia and many homeowners are fed up. Councilman David Oh says, on average, property tax increases went up more than 10 percent.

It raised alarms at City Council, so he introduced a new bill which could reject the 2019 assessment.

Most homeowners, like Aaron Matzkin, take pride in their homes.

"I build the deck and the kitchen and the bathroom, and it's definitely part of me," said Matzkin.

But, the city's 2019 property tax assessment of his Graduate Hospital home, quite simply, may push him out of it.

"This is not an increase we can afford," said Matzkin. "This is not in our budget. This is an over $7,000 increase from one year to the next."

Matzkin's bill jumped more than 80 percent.

The city is saying his home is worth $935,000, up from $525,000 in 2018.

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He's appealed it, but like thousands of other homeowners, he hasn't received a response.

"I'm angry and I'm scared," said Matzkin. "The city is a big entity. There is not much one person can do."

Maybe not, but Oh is going to try.

"Council did, through a third party, an audit of their methodology and found that it is below industry standards," said Oh.

That audit looked at how the Office of Property Assessment analyzed properties and found major problems.

"Land values exactly the same, on the same block were wildly different," said Oh.

Oh's bill would reject the OPA 2019 Assessment and allow property owners to pay the same amount they did in 2018.

Single-family homeowners aren't the only ones affected.

Anna Maria Vona owns multi-units in up and coming neighborhoods and has seen her property taxes almost double.

"I can't absorb it much longer," said Vona.

Though she's tried to keep rents stable for her tenants, the large tax increases may lead to rent hikes as well.

"They keep going back into the pockets of the tax paying citizens," said Vona. "Well, I ran out of pockets to pick."

Oh says his bill has to pass through committee and then a full City Council vote.

There is no word if or when that will happen at this time.

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