§ 2-305.  Office of Property Assessment; Chief Assessment Officer; Powers and Duties.
   (1)   Beginning with assessments made in calendar year 2011 and thereafter, the Office of Property Assessment shall make and supervise the making of all assessments and valuations of all subjects of real property taxation.
   (2)   Except as Council may ordain from time to time, the Chief Assessment Officer shall: 16
      (a)   Make or supervise the making of all assessments and valuations of all subjects of taxation in accordance with law, ordinance, and industry standards.
      (b)   Ensure the annual revisions and equalization of all such assessments and valuations.
      (c)   Certify all assessments after their revision and equalization.
      (d)   Promulgate and make available on the City's official website Assessment Standards and Practices Regulations that with respect to assessments made in calendar year 2011 and thereafter:
         (.1)   Set forth a methodology for the valuation of properties for taxation purposes. The methodology employed shall be made available to the public, including an explanation of the extent to which the methodology employed conforms to nationally recognized assessment standards such as those approved by the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) for mass appraisals of real property. The Government of the District of Columbia's document "Appraiser's Reference Materials", attached as Appendix "1", shall serve as a point of reference. 17
            (.a)   In applying the provisions of Section 402(c) of the General County Assessment Law, Act of 1933, P.L. 853, No. 155, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-402(c), the methodology used to calculate actual value shall explicitly provide for consideration of the impact on the actual value of each property of applicable rent restrictions, affordability requirements, and any other related restrictions prescribed by any federal or state programs; shall not consider federal or state tax credits as real property or income attributable to real property; and shall take into account arm's length sales, if any, of comparable low income housing tax credit properties. 18
               (i)   With respect to properties that are subject to rent restrictions, affordability requirements or other related restrictions prescribed by any federal or state programs, as contemplated by Section 402(c) of the General county Assessment Law, it is the expectation of Council that the methodology used to calculate actual value will include the following attributes, and if the methodology conflicts with any of these attributes, the Office of Property Assessment shall include an explanation of the rationale for doing so:
                  (A)   If the income approach is used to determine the actual value of such properties, the capitalization rate shall be no less than the bond rating set forth by Merrill-Lynch as the Triple C (CCC) Bond Benchmark at the time the valuation is made.
                  (B)   The methodology shall explicitly provide that the assessors (i) shall look to the actual income and expenses of such properties, without considering federal or state income tax credits as real property or income attributable to real property, (ii) shall not consider the rents of other non-low income housing tax credit properties, and (iii) in the case of properties with respect to which low income housing tax credits under Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code have been assigned by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the methodology shall not value any such property based on net income greater than the median net income of a statistically sound representative sample of the annual audits of such properties submitted by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. The Office of Property Assessment shall document its analysis of any such sample of annual audits.
         (.2)   Set standards for property assessments that shall include, at a minimum, an acceptable limit on the deviation of the Common Level Ratio from the Predetermined Ratio, an acceptable limit on the Coefficient of Dispersion, an acceptable range for the Price-Related Differential, and an adjustment based upon the market value of any exemption or abatement under Section 19-1303.2 or Section 19-1303.4. 19 The measurements against the standards shall be calculated following nationally recognized practices. 20
         (.3)   Require an annual reassessment through a professionally developed and maintained Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system.
         (.4)   Require that the annual reassessment be applied to all properties, including tax exempt properties, public utility property, and residential trailers.
         (.5)   Establish standards for recommending tax exemption for properties.
         (.6)   Establish procedures for changing values on an administrative basis (for example, in the event of catastrophic loss or errors in data).
      (e)   Publish annually on the City's official website the results of assessment-sales ratio studies for different types of real property for the entire City, and for different types of real property within each of the geographic areas utilized in making assessments. This report shall be in a format substantially similar to the document issued by the Government of the District of Columbia entitled "Assessment Ratio Report", attached as Appendix "2". A copy of this publication shall be delivered to the Mayor, President and Chief Clerk of Council by May 1st. 21
      (f)   Ensure access to public records regarding assessments in accordance with applicable law, and see to it that such records are made available on the City's official website.
      (g)   Ensure that notices of changes in assessments shall be sent to the Revenue Department upon their certification.
      (h)   Serve as the City's contact for information and complaints, other than appeals, about assessment policies and practices.
      (i)   Ensure that annual revisions and equalizations are done in accordance with law, ordinance, and industry standards.
      (j)   Be responsible for the numbering of all buildings, houses, condominiums, or other structures located within the City, in accordance with applicable law or ordinance.
      (k)   Ensure the establishment and maintenance of records of an adequate description of properties to assist in the determination of the value of those properties, and to permit inspection thereof by the public at all times during office hours.
      (l)   Consider and determine applications for tax abatement and tax exemption. 22
         (.1)   The Chief Assessment Officer shall only grant an exemption for a purely public charity or otherwise under Section 204 of the General County Assessment Law, Act of 1933, P.L. 853, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-204, with respect to real property:
            (.a)   In which the exempt entity has legal or equitable title;
            (.b)   From which the exempt entity derives no income other than from the recipients of the bounty of the exempt entity; and
            (.c)   That is occupied, and actually and regularly used, for the purpose or purposes which entitled the exempt entity to such exemption, and only with respect to such portion of the real property that is used for such purposes.
         (.2)   To the extent inconsistent with the foregoing, the provisions of Section 204(a)(11), (13) of the General County Assessment Law, Act of 1933, P.L. 853, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-204 (relating to libraries and fire and rescue stations), shall control.
         (.3)   Any claim of additional property or additional portion of property subject to exemption shall require an additional application to the Chief Assessment Officer.
      (m)   Ensure the defense of assessed values.
      (n)   Maintain a register which shall show the present valuation and assessment of all real property and, from time to time as the same are made, all additions thereto and changes thereof, together with the name of all persons responsible for any changes in the assessment or valuation of any such property and reason for such changes.
      (o)   Receive from the Department of Records a report of every deed or conveyance of land entered in the office for recording, which record shall set forth the following information: the recording date of the deed or conveyance; the names of the grantor and grantee in the deed; the consideration paid; the location of the property; and such additional information about the property's condition and characteristics as the Office of Property Assessment shall require in order to support its data collection requirements for accurate property valuation. It shall be the further duty of the Department of Records at intervals to file such reports in the Office of Property Assessment together with a certificate appended thereto that such record is correct.
      (p)   Maintain an on-line database which includes, at a minimum, the following information about each property within the City: the characteristics of the property; ownership information; certified values for the last five (5) years, showing the baseline assessment of the property as well as the effect of any changes based on an exemption or abatement; tax information, including the property's real estate tax and tax balances; zoning designation; and the existence of special conditions or certifications regarding the property, including whether the property is subject to any historical designations.
      (q)   Perform such other duties as may be assigned or delegated by the Mayor.
      (r)   Have all powers and duties of the former Board of Revision of Taxes not assigned by this Chapter to the Board of Property Assessment Appeals.
      (s)   At least once every three years, beginning with the year 2014, undergo an audit by an independent firm in which the firm will complete a statistical analysis of the performance of the appraisers and the accuracy of the property assessment in order to ensure a uniform and accurate system of property taxation. The Council shall, by separate ordinance, name the firm to be engaged for this purpose, which shall be selected pursuant to the procedure set forth in Chapter 17-1400 for the awarding of non-competitively bid contracts. The individuals supervising or conducting the audit must collectively possess the following qualifications: certification in real estate appraisal valuation by an organization belonging to The Appraisal Foundation or comparable organization; a current Certified General Appraiser License; at least three years of recent experience performing mass appraisal work for a jurisdiction where assessments are performed at least once every ten years; and at least three years of recent experience performing assessment-sales ratio studies, using standards approved by the IAOO. The final audit, including responses by the Office of Property Assessment, if any, shall be submitted to the Mayor, President and Chief Clerk of Council.
      (t)   Publish annually all policies and procedures provided by the Department of Records to the Office of Property Assessment for maintaining and allowing public inspection and use of records that are necessary for the current exercise of the powers and the current performance of the duties of the Office of Property Assessment as required by subsection 5-1101(b) of the Charter.
      (u)   Make underlying supporting data, documentation, methodology and any other information used to certify each property assessment publicly available by May 1.
         (.1)   All properties to which the provisions of Section 402(c) of the General County Assessment Law, Act of 1933, P.L. 853 as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-402 are applicable, including but not limited to low income housing tax credit properties, shall be separately identified, along with the relevant supporting data, documentation and methodology. 23

 

Notes

16
   Amended, Bill No. 130443-A (approved September 6, 2013).
17
   Note: Exhibits to Bill No. 130443-A are on file in the Office of the Chief Clerk.
18
   Added, Bill No. 170564 (approved September 12, 2017).
19
   Enrolled bill referenced "§ 19-303(4)"; reference corrected by Code editor.
20
   Amended, Bill No. 170467 (approved February 19, 2019).
21
   Note: Exhibits to Bill No. 130443-A are on file in the Office of the Chief Clerk.
22
   Amended, Bill No. 130123 (approved June 25, 2013); amended, Bill No. 150144 (approved April 7, 2015).
23
   Added, Bill No. 170564 (approved September 12, 2017).