Philly Today: Can We Talk About These Ridiculous Property Assessments for a Moment?

Plus: Did Dr. Oz abuse puppies? And more of what the city is (or should be) talking about.

homes in philadelphia that might want to take advantage of the philadelphia property assessment appeal process

Homes that might want to take advantage of the Philadelphia property assessment appeal process (Image via Getty)

And Now, Let Us Hate on Philly’s Property Assessments

If you own a home in Philadelphia, you probably just received a piece of mail from the City of Philadelphia Office of Property Assessment. I suggest you open it.

Inside is the city’s notice of valuation for 2023. In other words, the city is telling you how much it says your house is worth, and they base your upcoming taxes on this value.

In my case, the value of my rowhome in West Philly, that I haven’t done a thing to improvement-wise since I moved in 16 years ago, somehow jumped by close to 70 percent in just a year. That’s nothing. I’ve heard stories from some homeowners who claim that the city’s valuation increased by more than 200 percent.

Okay, so maybe the city just doesn’t know how to do math. Or maybe they’re being greedy. Either option is perfectly believable.

The real problem here is that the city was way late sending out these notices. Supposedly an envelope shortage was a factor in this. And yet, the city somehow managed to send me a bill for the fee the city makes me pay to have an alarm system in my house. I think I got three pieces of mail from the Water Department in the course of three weeks. (No, I’m not overdue.) But they couldn’t find envelopes for the property assessments. OK then.

What you really need to know is that there are two looming deadlines here. One is a sorta casual “first level review” that you can request. The deadline for this is September 30th. I reached out to the mayor’s office and suggested they move this deadline. A spokesperson said they are considering it and hope to have more information soon.

But then comes October 3rd. That’s the deadline for the more-complicated formal appeal with the Board of Revision of Taxes. As the spokesperson explained, that deadline is set by the state and the city can’t do anything about it. A rep from Governor Tom Wolf’s office confirmed this. Unfortunately, she said that moving the deadline would require a change to state law. Good luck getting that to happen.

The good news here is that if the city sides with you on the first level review, you’re all set and won’t have to file a formal appeal with the BRT, the deadline for which you’ll probably miss anyway. Good luck!

Did Dr. Oz Abuse Puppies?

Oh how I can’t wait until November gets here.

In the latest edition of mudslinging in the John Fetterman-Dr. Oz battle, there’s a rampant rumor going around that Dr. Oz abused puppies. Well, more precisely, that a study that Dr. Oz led abused puppies. Which suggests to me that before long, we’re going to see a TV ad talking about how the quack-charlatan candidate abused puppies. Thanks to our friends at Billy Penn for attempting to sort out the, you know, facts in all this.

Speaking of Fact-Checking

You know those “dangerously liberal on crime” anti-Fetterman TV ads making the rounds? Here’s the nonpartisan Philly-based org’s take on it.

Did You Know There Are Two Fringe Festivals Happening?

It’s September in Philadelphia, so you know what we’re excited about, right? No, not that Eagles season begins. And no, not that City Council is about to go back into session during very interesting times. And no, not that we are finally getting a break from the disgusting humidity that has hung over us for far too long. I mean, yes, we are excited about those things. But that’s not what I want to talk about right now.

September also means that the Philadelphia Fringe Festival is back. And we have not one but two “Fringe” festivals happening.

First, there’s the Fringe Festival that you’ve come to know over the last couple of decades. And there’s plenty to see there.

But there’s also the Free Fringe Philly fest, a sorta competing event started a few years back by former Fringe Festival participants who were frustrated with the original fest. As the name might suggest, all Free Fringe Philly shows are free to attend. They pass the hat at the end of each performance, should you feel so inclined. Check here for the lineup. Whatever your plans are for tonight, they can’t possibly be as fun or absurd as Therapy Gecko, which is pretty much what it sounds like it is.

an ad for therapy gecko, which is part of the free fringe philly festival

An ad for Therapy Gecko, part of the 2022 Free Fringe Philly Festival (Image courtesy Therapy Gecko0

Buzz Bissinger Has a New Book Out

Pulitzer-winning Philly journalist Buzz Bissinger just dropped his latest book, The Mosquito Bowl. You might know Bissinger because you’ve read about his leather and Gucci addiction. Or maybe because he was the guy who ghostwrote the Caitlyn Jenner memoir. Or perhaps you’re a big fan of Friday Night Lights, his bestselling tale of high school football in small-town Texas.

Bissinger is speaking at the Free Library tonight. Later in the week, he’s scheduled to be on Fresh Air and Morning Joe. But we got him first. Check out our fascinating interview about his new book, how he felt about working with Caitlyn Jenner, why he loves leather so damn much, and his refusal to teach Friday Night Lights to his students at Penn.

And from the Sports Desk…

Well, yesterday was Tuesday, a.k.a. Not Much News Day, a.k.a. Pitchers’ Duel Snooze Day, and the Phils and the Marlins took it to heart. (Is it just us, or do the Phils play the Marlins, like, every other damned game?)

Bailey Falter gave the Phils six good innings while allowing only one run, a solo homer by Bryan De La Cruz in the fifth. That’s all she wrote until Nick Maton, who was to that point the goat for striking out with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth, atoned for his sins and then some by whacking a homer off Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara in the top of the seventh, with Jean Segura, who sported three singles on the day against the Fishies’ Cy Young fave, on first base.

The Phils’ bullpen subsequently managed to put the Marlins away. Miracles occur! Maybe this really will be the year September doesn’t bring us a cloudy day. —Sandy Hingston