EG Property Assessments Down 11%

The new assessments are being mailed to EG property owners this week.

Here’s the most important information to pay attention to when you receive your revaluation letter from the town this week: do not multiply your new value by the current tax rate, reads the letter.

That’s because values have fallen an average of 11 percent since the last revaluation, which took place in 2008. So, just to stay even with this year’s budget, the tax rate would need to increase.

“Because there has been a loss in value, the tax rate will go up just to stand still, just to receive the same amount of revenue,” explained Town Manager Bill Sequino last week.

For instance, if your house was assessed at $400,000 in 2008 and it is assessed at $360,000 in the letter you receive from the town this week (a decrease of 10 percent), your tax rate would have to increase from $17.59 per $1,000 of assessed value to $19.44 per $1,000 of assessed value to maintain that same $4,996 in taxes determined in 2008.

Additionally, the Town Council could vote to raise taxes, further boosting the tax rate.

The decline in values was anticipated and, for anyone seeking to refinance or sell a home, already a reality. But residents may not be thrilled, officials said.

“People aren’t going to be happy but finally values are coming in line,” said EG Tax Assessor Janice Peixinho. Compared to the rate of value decline in some other communities in Rhode Island, EG isn’t doing too poorly.

“We’re not a Cranston, we’re not a Central Falls, we’re not an East Providence,” Peixinho said. “We’ve had sufficient sales. We haven’t really been knocked down like other communities with foreclosures and short sales. We’ve had them, but not enough to impact our numbers. We had enough sales to rely on for a fair market value.

In general, Sequino said, the rate of decline hit home and business owners more evenly this revaluation. Three years ago, commercial property held its own or better. As a result, those owners faced a large tax increase.

“In this revaluation,” he said, “since they’re loosing value just like the residential, they won’t be hit with that same kind of tax increase just to keep everything even.”

That’s everywhere but on South County Trail, where property values stayed higher than in other commercial areas, such as Main Street.

“We’ve had tremendous growth on South County Trail,” said Peixinho. “It has done very well in East Greenwich, but don’t forget it affects all the values on South County Trail. What it means is the taxpayer who has been there for a while is going to probably see a small spike, or a lesser reduction.”

When residents get their letters, she said, there are resources available online to check comparable residences to see if the numbers are similar, or not. They can also visit the Finance Department at Town Hall. You can request an informal hearing if you want reconsideration of your appraisal, but you must make your request by March 7.

Jim Iezzi February 21, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Can someone please tell me why we have to spend money every three years to re-evaluate properties when the town will just change the tax rate to keep the revenue the same, if not higher? We used to re-evaluate every ten years and the tax rate would change accordingly. Seems like we are just wasting money.
Heather Larkin February 21, 2012 at 01:19 PM
excellent question! Elizabeth, can you find an answer?
Marilyn Kiesel February 21, 2012 at 01:59 PM
The simple answer is that revaluations are required because of State Law. Years ago Cities and Towns had full revaluations every 10 years. With tremendous price fluctuations & increases, the Legislature changed the requirement to requiring a full revaluation every 9 years, and in the interim, every 3 years the Cities and Towns are required to do a Statistical Revaluation. It is intended to not create as much "sticker shock", and keep up with changing values in neighborhoods, etc.
Heather Larkin February 21, 2012 at 03:07 PM
makes sense. Thanks!
Jim Iezzi February 21, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I am aware of the law about statistical re-evaluations. It just seems with communities struggling financially, that this is an expense they can do without. Homeowners' "sticker shock" is always short lived because towns always adjust the tax rate. Realtors and towns can keep up with changing values in neighborhoods by examining recent sales data. So to me the statistical re-evaluation is a waste of money. The law should be changed.
Joe Cerrito February 22, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Thsi is one direct result of having so many outstanding bonds (i.e. Jr. High, Post Office, Police Station, etc. Now E.G. wants to move the Fire Station, what's next? E.G. can't afford to cut the tax payer a break. Not a well thought out plan, to say the least since there are many here that wants to move out of RI, the higher tax rate for a lower evaluated home just provides another push in that direction. Instead of moving the Fire Station, why don't we concentratrate on consolidating services, reducing unneeded overhead, and paying down our $94M (est.) pension liability? I thought E.G. was fiscally conservative?
GameMaker February 22, 2012 at 11:41 AM
I couldn't agree more. The town has been on a building tear over the past few years, and we need to slow things down so we can actually pay for all these Christmas presents. We're in fiscal February folks... :)


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