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Wissahickon Neighbors Seek AVI Answers

Members of the Wissahickon Neighbors try to come to terms with the city's Actual Value Initiative.

A member Councilman Curtis Jones’ staff met with the Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association on Monday to answer questions about the city’s Actual Value Initiative.

“It is not know yet exactly what the new tax rate will be,” said Jones spokesman Josh Cohen.  “There’s a lot of speculation about what the tax rate will be, but city council has not voted yet.”

Cohen encouraged all residents to educate themselves on the process and to make sure they have applied for the homestead exemption.

“The homestead exemption takes $30,000 right off the assessed value of your home,” Cohen said.  “The only thing you need to do to get the exemption is to apply for it on the city’s website and be the primary owner of your home.”

Cohen added that the councilman’s office would be hosting an AVI workshop on March 23, at Roxborough Hospital.

“We’re not going to talk about individual assessments,” Cohen said.  “We’re going to walk residents through different relief measures and how to apply for different exemptions.”

Cohen added, “We want to help lessen the blow as much as possible.”

Many residents at the meeting expressed shock over the new assessed value of their homes, and they were worried that their taxes would go up without a clear understanding of why.

“It all depends on the property,” Cohen said.  “If you’ve recently added a deck or put on a new roof, then the value of your house will go up.”

Cohen also said that the system isn’t perfect.

“I’ve seen certain cases where two identical properties have been given two different assessments,” Cohen said.  “That’s why there is an appeal process.”

Despite all of the unanswered questions, Cohen urged residents not to panic.

“Just because your assessment has tripled doesn’t mean your taxes have tripled,” Cohen said. 

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