Ludlow: Longtime Residents Brace for Property Tax Hikes

James Ludlow Middle School is located at Sixth and Master Streets.
James Ludlow Middle School is located at Sixth and Master Streets.
James Ludlow Middle School is located at Sixth and Master streets.

The city’s proposed property tax hikes wouldn’t affect lower income homeowners in Ludlow, according to the office of State Representative W. Curtis Thomas.

However, many Ludlow homeowners fear the city’s new Actual Value Initiative (an effort to more accurately determine property values) will likely force them out of the developing neighborhood they have always called home.

“We wanted to see the neighborhood get better,” a local business owner José Figueroa said.

Figueroa, a retired police officer who’s lived in Ludlow since 1967 said since the neighborhood has improved “it’s like they want us gone.”

With many of the neighborhood’s newest homes being products of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, Ludlow continues to accommodate lower income residents. But with the development of bordering communities Northern Liberties and Fishtown, properties in Ludlow now seek a much higher price tag.

“Our loyalty to this neighborhood should give us like a permanent right to be here,” said Natalie Rosario, who has lived in Ludlow all of her life. “People around here don’t make a whole lot of money. If they make us leave, where will we go?”

Tax abatements have been offered to new homeowners as a relocation incentive. With inflation and continuing development, there is no guarantee that these homeowners will be able to afford the property taxes once the abatement periods have elapsed.

The perceptions of some Ludlow homeowners about adverse impacts arising from changes in taxing properties are misplaced said the Office Manager for Rep. Thomas, the Democrat who represents the 181st District that includes Ludlow.

“I think the city has approached the issue with a fair degree of sensitivity,” District Office Manager Phil Murray said. “Certain areas are zoned as ‘low income areas,’ and those residents will not be subjected to unreasonable tax increases.”

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