One possibility that City Council is considering is the gradual application of the property tax reassessments throughout the course of three years.
A bill proposed by Councilman Mark Squilla of the 1st District would do just that by taking the taxes collected the previous year and adding a percentage of the increases – 25 percent in 2014, 33 percent in 2015 and 50 percent in 2016, with the final amount going into effect in 2017 – to each resident’s tax bill.
Alan Kringman, owner of 11 properties in University City which house approximately 60 people, supports this proposal and said he intends to implement it among his tenants.
“If I think Squilla has the right idea, then I’ll do the same thing, I’ll phase people in,” he said. “I have to practice what I preach. And I don’t know how other landlords are doing it. But I couldn’t hit my tenants with a 7 percent increase. Some of them just couldn’t afford it.”
Kringman said he will gradually raise rents by about 2 percent each year for returning tenants, although he said new tenants will likely pay for the full increases in real estate taxes.
To do so, Kringman said he will have to incur a loss in profits.
“I figured what I would have to do is just be more aggressive and maybe after three years I’ll get caught up. But, frankly, I’m going to have to eat some of it.”
Still, he said he believes gradual increases are the only fair thing to do. He is surprised by the seeming lack of support from other councilmembers.
“I asked [3rd District Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell] about the phase in and… I thought I was throwing her like a softball question. Instead, she said that’s one of those things we’ll discuss during the budget hearings. It would have been the perfect opportunity for her to say I think that’s the kind of idea we should be pursuing. Everybody would have been happy to hear that.”