Axis Philly: Candidates for City Controller Talked About AVI

Jeff Hornstein, President of Queen Village Neighbors Association, researched the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Brett Mandel, candidate for City Controller, spoke with his daughter outside of his Graduate Hospital campaign office.

The primary election for the city’s chief financial auditor is May 21. There are two candidates on the forefront of AVI.

Incumbent Alan Butkowtiz said his office believes that there are more errors with property assessments under AVI than there were before.

Candidate Brett Mandel has a history with AVI.

He was a Plaintiff in a 2011 lawsuit that was geared towards getting the city to reform its property assessment and tax system. His Graduate Hospital home was undervalued.

“One thing I like about him is the fact that he’s trying to create more transparency,” said Icy Jones, a resident of Graduate Hospital. “That’s my biggest complaint about what’s going on right now.”

Candidate Brett Mandel said has a three-point plan for AVI.

“You have to keep the values low, you have to collect from those who owe, you have to keep people in their homes,” said Mandel.

The city’s largest source of revenue is property tax. Property taxes are projected to total $1,340 million in fiscal year 2014. The school district receives 60 percent of the property tax revenue, which is expected to be $804 million next year.

Icy Jones, resident of Graduate Hospital, sat outside with his sister and niece.

“There needs to be more accountability of where that money is going,” Jones said.

AVI is supposed to fix the property assessment system but many residents question its accuracy.

“There’s a real question about the methodology used,” said Jones. “How can you put together a compelling appeal when you don’t know what the process is?”

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