East Providence announces property tax rates for FY19-20

Actual dollar value drops, but revaluation of parcels grew

By Mike Rego
Posted 6/6/19

EAST PROVIDENCE — As always it seems on the subject of taxation, customers in the City of East Providence received some good and bad news last week in the lead up to receipt of their bills for …

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East Providence announces property tax rates for FY19-20

Actual dollar value drops, but revaluation of parcels grew

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — As always it seems on the subject of taxation, customers in the City of East Providence received some good and bad news last week in the lead up to receipt of their bills for Fiscal Year 2019-20, the collection of which starts July 1.

In a release issued earlier last week and then during an appearance before the council at its meeting Tuesday night, June 4, by city-side Finance Director Malcolm Moore, the administration of Mayor Bob DaSilva announced rate changes being implemented with the issuance of the FY19-20 tax bills at the end of the week.

First, the good news: The rates for residential, commercial and tangibles categories will be reduced slightly. In the residential category, the rate drops to $20.02 per $1,000 from $22.88. The commercial tax rate falls from $25.33 per $1,000 to $24.62 and tangibles dips from $37.40 per $1,000 from $37.10.

Second, the bad news: The recent state mandated revaluation raised the total value of property in East Providence from $3.75 billion to $4.25 billion, meaning most, if not all parcel owners in the city saw an increase in their worth.

With that being said, in the release and reiterated by Mr. Moore last Tuesday night, the reduction in rates for residential property owners coupled with the uptick in values means the average single-family home will see an annual total dollar tax increase of 1.5 percent or $68.64.

Being the largest single element of the reval, 90 percent of all properties in the city, the residential sector, obviously, incurred the biggest increase. The value of the average single-family residence rose from $200,000 to $232,000 or 17.5 percent, according to Mr. Moore. Commercial values saw an uptick of 6.1 percent and tangibles rose 3.4 percent.

Bound by state law and city ordinance, though, Mr. Moore explained the reason the actual dollar amount of the rates changed was because the budget for FY19-20, approved by the previous council last fall, included a specific percentage increase and total amount of taxes, just over $100 million ($100,126,425), to be collected. The revaluation done earlier this calendar year meant the city would have collected levies in excess of the $100 million if rates had remained the same, not allowed by state and local mandates.

“When we do the budget you’re estimating what you think the tax rate will be because you don’t know until you certify the roll about now (this time of the calendar year) what your final numbers will be,” Mr. Moore said.

Mr. Moore reiterated to the council the reason why the changes were implemented at such a late date, only a few days before bills were to sent out, is based in part on the fact that East Providence’s fiscal year, which runs from November 1 to October 31 annually, does not match that of the state, which is July 1-June 30.

“In other communities, your tax year starts on 7/1 and so does your budget year,” Mr. Moore added. “So it’s much easier for them to know what the number is.”

Ward 3 Councilman Nate Cahoon engaged Mr. Moore to help explain away any confusion on the part of property owners who question, “My bill is going up, how is my rate going down?”

“I just want, when you step through it, that people know when they see their bill they understand there is math behind it. It’s not magic. It’s not mystery,” Mr. Cahoon continued. “There’a rate and there’s a levy that’s already established and we’re going to collect that levy.”

Tax bills were expected to be delivered to customers beginning Friday, June 7. First quarter taxes are due by the first business day of next month, Monday, July 1. Per an ordinance passed last year, customers have a seven-day grace period to remit payment before being charged interest. Also, those who quibble with what they owe have a one-week window to appeal upon receipt of their bills.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.