Axis Philly: Fishtown Families Wonder Where Their Taxes Are Going

Dave Strohmeier and Tara Dossantos stood outside in Fishtown with their son.
Dave Strohmeier and Tara Dossantos stood outside in Fishtown with their son.
Dave Strohmeier and Tara Dossantos stood outside in Fishtown with their son.

Despite the fact that 56 percent of property tax revenues go toward the School District of Philadelphia, schools are still being closed.

Philadelphia officials approved closing 23 public schools, about 10 percent of the city’s total, in order to erase a huge budget deficit and reduce the number of underused schools. One school set to close is Carroll High School in Port Richmond, which some residents of Fishtown attend.

Residents are now wondering if the city should make adjustments to the budget. The amount of money being allocated for certain public schools is under scrutiny.

Dave Strohmeier and Tara Dossantos are residents of Fishtown. They said their property taxes will double next year under the Actual Value Initiative. They said they think that the increase in taxes is necessary but are not sure why most of the money is going toward schools that are not staying open.

“I think it makes sense that our taxes are going up but I don’t think that they should be closing schools if that’s where most of our money is going,” said Dossantos.

“I think that they should reassess where all the money is going and why things like schools have to close. I think that the money is either being misappropriated or just not going to the right things,” said Strohmeier.

Dossantos and Strohmeier both agreed that the city does not communicate where the money from property taxes goes well enough and that residents are generally unaware of what is going on with tax revenues.

“I don’t think that it’s something people really delve in to. It’s just something that they have to pay,” said Strohmeier. “I don’t believe that the city is all that transparent. I think that there are a lot of funds that are going places and no one really knows really where they are going.”

“I don’t ever read the papers and I never really try to see or find out what’s going on. So I never even know or really think about any of this stuff other than we’re going to start having to spend more money on our taxes,” said Dossantos.

To find out more information about where your tax money goes, visit the Office of Property Assessment’s website.

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