“The property tax is our single most important revenue source as a City. It is a significant tax burden on all property owners – and on their tenants, including renters and small business owners. We therefore owe it to the City’s taxpayers to make the administration of the property tax as fair, transparent, and accurate as it can possibly be within the confines of current law. Today’s hearing of the Council’s Finance Committee was called because the Department of Finance has failed the taxpayers this year on all counts – and in so doing has undermined the public’s confidence in the City’s most important revenue source.
“During today’s hearing, Finance Department Commissioner David Frankel came forward with a proposal that would in effect cap tax increases at an average of 10 percent on properties that suffered large increases in assessments this year. The Council asks that the Commissioner explore lowering the taxable value cap to under 10 percent. Home owners and owners of small rental properties currently have better protections from large increases. These could serve as model.
“In addition, the Commissioner agreed during the hearing to post properties used as comparables for assessment purposes online in time to be evaluated by taxpayers next year – a step that failed to happen this year.
“Finally, the Department of Finance and the Council will now begin working together toward reforms to ensure that assessments are fair and accurate, including a structured process to review and validate methodology changes, and putting in place quality control measures to ensure that the resulting assessments are accurate and fair.
“Taxpayers will pay their fair share if they are confident that they are being treated fairly. Commissioner Frankel was forthright today in admitting the errors and shortcomings in this year’s assessments, and articulated a plan to correct them going forward. We thank him for his efforts, andlook forward to working with him and the Department in the coming months. We sincerely hope that today’s hearing was the first step on the road to restoring taxpayer confidence in the property tax system.”