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The Office of Property Assessment conducts property assessments to determine the value of properties within the City of Philadelphia.
OPA also handles abatement and exemption programs that may reduce a property’s real estate tax bill, including:
Disabled veterans real estate tax exemption.
Catastrophic loss exemption.
Abatement programs for new construction or substantial renovation
The Chief Assessment Officer (Chief Assessor) is responsible for directing the OPA. The position is responsible for all assessments and valuations of real property in accordance with legal, ordinance, and industry standards for the City of Philadelphia. Central to the work is ensuring the annual revision, equalization, and certification of all such assessments and evaluations. The position will also be responsible for developing and implementing a methodology for the valuation of properties, and setting standards for property assessments based on law, ordinance, and nationally recognized practices. Additionally, a critical aspect of the Chief Assessor’s work is to proactively communicate to key stakeholders any upcoming changes to assessments, and, when necessary, defend assessment practices and valuations.
Sets forth a methodology for the valuation of properties for taxation purposes; ensures an annual reassessment through the City’s soon-to-be-implemented computer-assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) system; requires that the annual reassessment be applied to all properties, including tax-exempt properties and public utility property; ensures that annual revisions and equalizations are done in accordance with law, ordinance, and industry standards.
Directs assessments and valuations of real property in accordance with law, ordinance, and industry standards; ensures the annual revisions and equalization of all such assessments and valuations.
Oversees certification of all assessments after their revision and equalization; ensures the defense of assessed values.
Makes initial recommendations to the Board of Revision of Taxes of whether a property shall be exempt from real property taxation; establishes standards for recommending tax exemption for properties; establishes procedures for changing values on an administrative basis (e.g., catastrophic loss, errors in data, initial recommendation on tax exemption); ensures that notices of changes in assessments shall be sent to the Revenue Department upon their certification.
Oversee the First Level Review process for property owners who believe their assessment is incorrect.
Evaluation and Quality Control:
Establishes standards for quality and quantity of work performed by assessing staff and ensures that standards are being maintained; coordinates procedures in the Office of Property Assessment for computing and maintaining consistency in the appraisal of properties within different geographic districts or specialties.
Policy, Legislation, and Communications:
Serves as the City’s contact for information and complaints, other than appeals, about assessment policies and practices; attends special appeal hearings held by the Board of Revision of Taxes and testifies regarding the basis and factors involved in determining the amount of the assessment; acts as the spokesperson to the media for the Office of Property Assessment and the city on matters of real property valuation and tax assessments; confers with the Office of the City Solicitor and the Department of Licenses and Inspections regarding the assessment function.
Ensures access to public records regarding assessments in accordance with applicable law and sees to it that such records are made available.
Keeps abreast of legislation pertinent to assessing and related ad valorem tax areas; ensures adherence to established city, state and federal laws and regulations; prepares written reports on agency operations.
Performs other duties as assigned.
Qualifications (Education, Experience, and Certification)
Bachelor's degree in Government, Business Administration, Real Estate or a related business field.
A minimum of ten years of appraisal and assessment experience, including four years of experience at the level of a director or deputy director of assessments directing real property appraisal and assessment work for a large city or county government, preferably a city or county government handling at least 200,000 parcels of real property.
Licenses, Registrations and/or Certificates:
The Chief Assessor is required to have a CPE or obtain that certification within two years of hire.
Professional certification from the IAAO (International Association of Assessing Officers) is also preferred.
Competencies, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Understanding of the principles, approaches, methods, and techniques of property evaluation for mass appraisal and assessment purposes under Pennsylvania law
Knowledge of uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice
Understanding and application of appraisal valuation theory
Proper application of the theory of values as applied to real property appraisal and evaluation
Understanding of the cost, sales comparison, and income capitalization approaches to value
Strong technical knowledge of descriptive and inferential statistics including sampling techniques
Experience with building construction methods and analyzing costs
Understanding of assessment record maintenance procedures and standards
Strong knowledge of current real property values and trends
Strong management, organizational and communication skills with employees, peers, supervisors, elected officials, and the public.
Knowledge of best practices as determined by the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO)
Understanding of legal requirements affecting real property assessment under Pennsylvania law
Knowledge of computer-assisted mass appraisal systems
Knowledge of taxation practices
Experience appraising and assessing high value and diverse real estate parcels and interest
Ability to manage a large unionized, multi-disciplined technical and administrative workforce engaged in real property mass appraisal, evaluation, and assessment
Effective evaluating and analyzing of real estate market trends
Strategic mindset in making forecasts and projections
Deep understanding of and interpreting income and expenditure statements as they relate to market value and assessment
Technical knowledge in reading and interpreting complex building plans blueprints, surveys, registry maps, zoning code, and historical certifications
Ability to analyze procedures, policies, plans, and guidelines
Deep understanding of operational efficiency to make recommendations for improvements
Ability to develop procedures, policies, plans, and guidelines
Ability to make real property-related mathematical computations
Effectively interpret leases, deeds, installment sales agreement, and financial statements
Ability to present ideas effectively with variety of stakeholders, both orally and in writing; as well ensure that materials detailing assessment methodologies are made publicly available
Strong Conflict resolution skills working with the general public, taxpayers and property owners
Team building and motivational skills to maintain effective working relationships with associates, taxpayers, and their representatives using tact and diplomacy