In some neighborhoods, relief at the new assessment plan

Rodney Warner, outside his home on Country Club Road in Wynnefield. A tax cut is good news to the Warners, who bought their house in2006 during the real estate bubble.
Rodney Warner, outside his home on Country Club Road in Wynnefield. A tax cut is good news to the Warners, who bought their house in2006 during the real estate bubble. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 18, 2013

Kim Carter brushed the soil off her gardening gloves and smiled when she heard that her property taxes would decrease by $203 in 2014.

"I really did think it was going to go up," she said. Carter has lived on the 3700 block of Country Club Road in Wynnefield for 16 years, and hers is one of the Philadelphia neighborhoods that got lucky under the city's new property tax system.

Carter says her block has changed over the years, becoming more diverse. Eight of 10 residents are minority, according to the 2010 Census.

Many newer residents, she said, have made improvements to their homes, pulling up outdated carpets and replacing front doors and windows. On Saturday, Carter was working outside in a garden just off a patio she built herself.

All of that has likely helped property values rise.

The city's reassessment put the 2014 median market value at $112,100, up from $51,400.

Of 2,919 residential properties in Wynnefield, The Inquirer found that 60 percent of homeowners would see a decrease or no change in their 2014 property tax bills. The median tax bill would be $206 less, a 13 percent decline. About 23 percent would receive tax bills higher by $250 or more.

Wynnefield is home to St. Joseph's University and Mayor Nutter, whose own property taxes are slated to drop by $460. In announcing the new property valuations Friday, Nutter said his savings would be sent to the school district.

Country Club Road is lined with large rowhouses and modest front yards. Many residents have called it home for a dozen years or more.

Michael Washington has lived with his wife and daughter on Country Club Road for 18 years, and while the area isn't devoid of big-city crime, it's "still a quiet neighborhood," he said.

He was pleased to hear his taxes would decrease by $203 in 2014, from $2,467 to $2,264.

"I was paying too much anyhow," he said, laughing.

Washington's neighbor Rodney Warner said his property value has decreased since he and his wife, both New Orleans transplants, bought their house in 2006.

"We bought during the bubble, and our value's gone down," he said. "It could have been a lot worse. But I'm happy taxes have gone down. It's a really great neighborhood - there's a lot of kids, and it's safe."

Across the street, John Jenkins said he moved to Wynnefield 13 years ago to escape high tax rates in Center City. His property taxes would decrease by $204 in 2014.

"I've been waiting for it - they told us it would happen, and it's wonderful," he said. "I love this place - it's the best neighborhood there is."


Contact Aubrey Whelan

at 610-313-8112, awhelan@philly.com, or on Twitter at @aubreyjwhelan

Inquirer staff writers Dylan Purcell and John Duchneskie contributed to this report.

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