PHILADELPHIA – Yesterday attention was called to this problematic system again. The BRT is the agency that assesses the taxes for homes of Philadelphia. While one home has their taxes raised the house right next door may not. There is seemingly no rhyme or reason to their decisions. There is a board of appeals, but they don’t seem to take taxpayers very seriously.
Grace D’Agostino, who went in front of the appeals board to ask why her taxes were raised and her neighbor’s weren’t stated to the Philadelphia Inquirer that she was told simply: “Their answer to me was:’We didn’t get around to it.’ That really stopped my heart,”. This is so very unfair to single out one home. Wouldn’t common sense say to start with each block, do assessments one by one until the entire block is completed? Or is that just too easy?
The BRT Brought Back Despite Philadelphia Voters
Last spring, Philadelphia voters ended the BRT reign, I’m sure it was quite a relief for them. How upsetting it must have been then, for them to find out that the Supreme Court brought it back last week. Mayor Nutter is working very hard to reform the newly upheld BRT by making changes that would not allow the BRT to continue to have power over every aspect of the process. Power of assessment of homes, assessment of taxes and appeals. That is one scary agency in my opinion. Any agency that has all power like that and no one to answer to will eventually start doing whatever they want. This comes at the taxpayers expense.
The One Change the Supreme Court did Make
Last week when the Supreme Court ruled on keeping BRT they did at least make the decision to keep assessments of property value separate from the appeals process. That’s one step in the right direction. The problem here is that it is going to take an unbelievable two years for these new procedures to be in place. So homeowners that have had unfair tax assessments will still be dealing with the same board of appeals. While Mayor Nutter sees this as a victory, and so do many others, for some two years is just too long to wait to correct their unfair assessments.
Who the Assessments of Property Value Will be Made by Now
The Office of Property Assessments is now the agency who will handle property value assessments. The taxes on the homes are based on property values. Mayor Nutter is confident that there will be fewer problems despite the fact that it will still be BRT hearing the appeals. The reason for this is he feels if the properties were assessed properly there should be less appeals. I am left to wonder though, what about that one person on the block that assessed and the rest of the block isn’t even looked at. It said in no reports that I read that they will start a more organized process for these assessments.
Voters need to stand together now and fight against the injustices put upon them by the BRT. Mayor Nutter is trying to heal this wound and gain taxpayers trust back again. Perhaps if enough people stand up to the inadequacies of the appeals board, more changes will be made.
Joseph Tanfani “BRT inequities won’t vanish immediately” Philly news