Bristol provisional budget set despite revaluation issues

Bristol Town Council members Halsey Herreshoff, left, Edward Stuart, Nathan Calouro and Mary Parella voted to ask the General Assembly to approve a delay in the town-wide property revaluation. Bristol Town Council members Halsey Herreshoff, left, Edward Stuart, Nathan Calouro and Mary Parella voted to ask the General Assembly to approve a delay in the town-wide property revaluation.

Bristol Town Council members Halsey Herreshoff, left, Edward Stuart, Nathan Calouro and Mary Parella voted to ask the General Assembly to approve a delay in the town-wide property revaluation.

Bristol Town Council members Halsey Herreshoff, left, Edward Stuart, Nathan Calouro and Mary Parella voted to ask the General Assembly to approve a delay in the town-wide property revaluation.

Despite some unknowns in the town’s property revaluation, the Bristol Town Council unanimously approved a provisional budget for fiscal year 2014-2015, setting the total amount at $53,785,701.

The provisional budget calls for a tax rate increase of $0.35 per thousand, going from the current $12.80 to the proposed $13.15.

This year, there were no across the board salary increases for non-union town employees. The Enterprise Fund accounts for $5,034,077 of the budget.

After weeks of discussions and fine tuning of the Bristol fiscal 2015 budget, it was the revaluation snafu that had Town Treasurer Julie Goucher, Town Administrator Tony Teixeira, and the members of the town council scrambling to remedy.

By state law, property revaluations are to be conducted by cities and towns every three years. However, Clipboard, the company hired to conduct Bristol’s revaluation, returned what the town council and administration perceived as inconsistent data. In order to move forward with the budget, the town is using tax revenue based on the Dec. 31, 2012 valuation while appealing to the Rhode Island General Assembly to allow them an extension on the three-year revaluation.

“We’ll assume it will pass. If it doesn’t, we’ll have to come back and do this again,” said Town Council Chairwoman Mary Parella.

The town already paid Clipboard $144,500 to conduct the revaluation, and has paid an additional $10,000 to consultants to fix the problems in Clipboard’s data.

A public hearing on the budget will be held on Thursday, May 22 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. Immediately following the public hearing, the town council will vote on adopting the final budget.

The final details of the budget were being updated after Tuesday night’s meeting, but as of press time, neither Mr. Teixeira nor Ms. Goucher were available to provide those details.

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