Letter: Barrington councilman is wrong

Posted 7/20/19

To the editor:

Councilman Jacob Brier is wrong.  

In last week’s Barrington Times, his well-intentioned editorial “New approach to assessment is legal” is factually …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Letter: Barrington councilman is wrong

Posted

To the editor:

Councilman Jacob Brier is wrong.  

In last week’s Barrington Times, his well-intentioned editorial “New approach to assessment is legal” is factually incorrect. He claimed that the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruling in Balmuth v. Dolce gives authority to the Town of Barrington for its new tax scramble. He wrote that, according to this case, the town’s property tax “assessment could be changed following a sale”. And he wrote, “the tax assessor does have the authority to deviate from the [statutory] triennial schedule as a result of the Supreme Court ruling in Balmuth.” Mr. Brier’s unfounded decree simply echoes public statements made by Michael Minardi, the town’s tax assessor, who started this whole bamboozle.

What I want to know is whether anyone at town hall actually bothered to read the court’s opinion in this case. Factually Balmuth had nothing to do with whether a sale can trigger adjustments to the prior scheduled triennial valuation or whether the controlling statutes allow deviation from the proscribed triennial schedule for valuations.

Balmuth arose out of a group of Portsmouth taxpayers’ challenge to their two-year prior triennial valuations. According to the Court, “The issue at hand . . . is whether the General Assembly intended that [those taxpayers] be locked into” the valuations from the statutory triennial schedule. The court said, “We hold that . . . when plaintiffs appealed [Portsmouth’s] assessments for tax years 2009 and 2010, they were not locked into the December 31, 2007 valuations of their properties.” And, that’s it. That’s all the Court said.

As any first-year law student knows, the law in this case is limited to the Court’s holding. Discussion by the court does not make new law. Even if it did, which it does not, the discussion in this case gives no mention of anything close to this crazy offensive the Town of Barrington has launched against its home buyers.

Charlie Payne

Barrington

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.