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Philadelphia Property Tax Reassessment Has Some Residents Concerned


By Jenn Bernstein

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Sixty-seven-year-old Charles Sherd has lived in his home on Cantrell Street in South Philadelphia for more than 35 years.

He was surprised when he opened a letter from the city.

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"That assessment that came in the mail the other day, it's just like a slap in the face," says Sherd.

For years, his home has been consistently valued at $12,000, but after a city-wide reassessment, it's now valued at $116,700.

He's worried about his property taxes in 2014.

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"It is a lot for a person to do in one year, I can't afford this," Sherd says.

And he's not alone.

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Many Philadelphia residents who reside in or near up-and-coming hot spots are seeing their assessed values skyrocket after this re-evaluation.

Others are glad to find their assessment has gone down.

It's called Actual Value Initiative, or AVI.

It's the first time in the city's history a comprehensive property review was performed on every property at 100 percent market value.

"The system was basically broken. We had a situation where the property values didn't reflect anything close to what the properties would sell for," said the Chief Assessment Officer for the Office of Property Assessment, Richie McKeithen.

City Councilman Mark Squilla wants to phase in the assessment over four years, instead of hitting property owners with the entire change for 2014.

He says constituents are calling, concerned they were over-assessed, or as they say, they're seeing inconsistencies in their neighborhoods.

"If we really say this is a fair system, and that we're going from one unfair system to a fair system, then we have to make sure that the OPA values that they give the residents and the people that own the properties are fair," said Councilman Squilla.

Right now, you can't calculate what your taxes will be for 2014 because the city has not yet set the tax rate; that's happening in the spring, according to Mayor Nutter's office.

City leaders are also undecided about relief measures.

If you believe your assessment is wrong, you can request a first level review, which can be found in the paperwork the city sent to property owners. It's due by March 31st.

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