As I mentioned while speaking at the Development Workshop last week, my first six months in office have been filed with many exciting and new challenges but my goals remain the same: to make government more effective and efficient.
Since being in office I have been able to help promote filing of the Earned Income Tax Credit, meet with the Department of Revenue and the Office of Property Assessment to continually work towards correcting our longstanding delinquency problem and inaccurate property assessments, attack the issue of Youth Homelessness in our City, pass my first piece of legislation requiring proof of tax compliance before a permit or license can be issued, created a tech working group with the Administration in order to move some of our government to the 21st century and visit the public schools within our City who I have dedicated my City Council salary towards helping.
As I traverse forward, my focus in the immediate future is dedicated to the work around delinquent taxes and property assessments. Without a strong, healthy city we have nothing. This thought has helped shape my priorities.
With a collection rate of about 92%, despite slight improvements made over the years, the City of Philadelphia still has one of the poorest track records in the country for tax collection, with the national average being between 96-97%. In order to help our City make necessary improvements, I have worked with the Administration to secure a feasibility study conducted by the National Tax Lien Association, which demonstrates how the use of a Tax Lien Securitization Method as utilized in New York City, will help bring much needed revenue and a culture of tax compliance to our City.
As a $134 billion entity, the City of Philadelphia is in theory one of the largest firms in the country and it is my goal to make sure we handle our real estate as such. Property taxes for 76% of our real estate have seen no change in value for the last 2 years despite overall property values in Philadelphia increasing about 6%. Applying a simple increase in value of 2.5% would generate revenue of about $27.5 million for our City. This, in conjunction with bringing in “best of class” appraisers into the Office of Property Assessment, will help ensure our commercial assessments do not remain severely undervalued and that our City and School District are receiving the money we are owed.
We have nothing without a healthy city for all the taxpayers and residents who live here. It will continue to be my top priority to work towards making sure our city is healthy, effective and efficient.
Councilman Allan Domb