AFTER 10 YEARS, and a lifetime's equivalent of civic and political angst, the city's property-tax system is on the brink of the first day of the rest of its life: On Friday, the city sends out the new assessments for residential properties. That's the first glimpse property owners will have of the Actual Value Initiative, designed to fix the unfair, arbitrary way properties have been taxed in the city.
Though assessments are not bills, some sticker shock is probably a given, since these new assessments are closer to current values. Before taxpayers start hyperventilating at seeing their homes rise in value, they should pace themselves - there are still many steps before tax bills go out. Council must set the actual tax rate, and decide on programs designed to soften the blow for huge increases, such as homestead exemptions.