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.