Councilman Mark Squilla wants to put a hold on the Actual Value Initiative

City Councilman Mark Squilla introduced legislation that would put the breaks on the actual value property tax initiative, which some have criticized as a backdoor tax hike, for a year while members of Council gather more information about its consequences.

“My mother always told me, never dive into the water if you can’t see the bottom,” he said in defense of the legislation. “I’m not willing to take that dip into the millage pool until we know how deep the assessments are.” he said.

He said that, after a meeting earlier this week with state representatives, he was not confident that the state would authorize the initiative’s $15,000 homestead exemption, which would drop properties’ assessed values.

“At all the community budget meetings we’re at, the number one question is, ‘How is the AVI going to affect us?’ And we don’t know,” he said. “This would give us time to evaluate the whole initiative and to work with state representatives on the homestead exemption.”

“The AVI continues to move forward,” Mayor Michael Nutter said later in response. “When we have new values it would be, in my opinion, irresponsible not to use them,” he said, noting that he understood Squilla’s concerns, as many in the councilman’s district will be see big changes to their property taxes as a result of the reassessment.

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