City Controller Alan Butkovich stopped by the Chestnut Hill Community Association Board of Directors meeting Thursday night to discuss the Actual Value Initiative with residents.
Butkovich explained the details of AVI to the audience, breaking down the different possibilities of how the initiative could impact homeowners.
To go along with the discussion, Butkovich passed out an outline that shows how Philadelphia real estate taxes compare to those of nearby suburbs, and how they would compare under the several rates that have been proposed along with AVI.
The outline showed that under a 1 percent or 1.2 percent tax rate for AVI, Philadelphia real estate taxes would remain lower than most suburbs. But with a 1.8 percent tax rate, Philadelphia would be far less competitive, having higher real estate taxes than Hatfield, Whitpain and Jenkintown, for example.
"This is an experiment where the consequences are the life and vibrance of the city," Butkovich said.
Under the lower two rates proposed, Most Chestnut Hill homeowners would not see a raise in tax bills. Only at the more recent 1.8 percent rate would real estate taxes start to go up for most homes in the zip code. In a random selection of 20 Chestnut Hill homes Butkovich provided, 18 of them would see increases under that rate, and some as high as 60 percent.
Butkovich told residents that Philadelphia City Council is facing a tough decision on AVI. The initiative has already passed, Butkovich said.
"The hat is already halfway over the fence," Butkovich said.
Now the initiative has to be amended to reflect the rate that homes will be taxed after the homes start being taxed based on their actual assessed value. Butkovich suggested that residents write to members of council to make sure that the rate stays closer to 1 percent.
"I think you should raise a lot of hell," he told the audience.
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