Vehicle tax exemption doubling to $1,000

Vehicle tax exemption doubling to $1,000

Mayor projects 28-cent tax rate increase in upcoming budget; DeStefanis wants zero

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Uncertainty about car tax reform is looming at the state level, but Mayor Charles Lombardi says he’s moving forward with at least one portion of House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s proposed plan.

Lombardi said the current exemption of $500 of value on North Providence vehicles will be bumped up to $1,000, for a savings to residents.

Mattiello’s latest plan is calling for every community in the state to raise their exemption by $500, for cars 15 years or older to no longer be taxed, and for towns to go to 95 percent of clean retail value for cars.

There are many different scenarios for how the state might reimburse communities for the lost revenues, said Lombardi. The mayor said uncertainty with car taxes is making it difficult to know exactly how to proceed with tax rates for the fiscal year starting July 1.

On the residential tax rate side, he’s holding to an estimated 28-cent tax increase for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

That increase would mean an added $60 or so for the owner of a home valued at $200,000.

Town Councilor Raymond DeStefanis said during a meeting last week that he’s “adamantly opposed to a tax increase” of any kind for town residents, saying the town’s latest revaluation enhanced its ability to bring in more revenue.

But Tax Assessor Tom Kane said increased values don’t make the town flush with new revenue, as the tax rate must be lowered, or equalized, to account for the new increased values.

Kane said he plans to soon certify the real estate and tangible portions of the town’s tax rolls, but will hold off on doing so for car tax bills. That uncertainty with car tax bills will impact other areas of tax revenue, he said.

DeStefanis is asking why real estate and tangible tax rates aren’t certified yet, questioning how the council can approve a budget without knowing where the town’s revenues stand. If 40 percent of the town has seen increases in value, and a much smaller percentage has seen decreases, councilors can’t know whether revenue and spending numbers equal out.

“How do you get to equalization if you don’t know what your revenue is?” asked DeStefanis.

Equalization is where communities lower tax rates to account for increased values.

DeStefanis said he’s skeptical about Lombardi’s claim that he and his team don’t yet know what the real estate and tangible tax rolls will be.

“I find it so hard to believe that they can’t come up with an actual number by now,” he said.

The councilman is calling a meeting of the council’s finance subcommittee for Wednesday evening, June 14, to hear more from Kane on the certification process.

A special budget hearing for passage of the town’s budget ordinance is set for June 21, and Lombardi will then have seven days to veto it, put his signature on it, or let it pass without his signature.

Lombardi said he likes DeStefanis, but isn’t a fan of his “sound good, feel good” proposals, like starting a new sidewalk repair program. With a $75 million school bond now pending, he said, the town certainly needs a tax increase of some kind. He said he hasn’t heard one complaint about the 28-cent one he’s proposing.

Lombardi assured taxpayers that he plans to keep the proposed increase as low as possible.

DeStefanis responded that the only one employing a “sound good, feel good” strategy is Lombardi for saying that a June 16 certification of tax rolls gives the council enough time to analyze and approve a final budget.

DeStefanis said he doesn’t want to get to next spring and hear how well Lombardi did with achieving a surplus if the town underestimates its revenues to get there.

Once the town certifies its tax rolls, those are the numbers taxpayers have to live with, said DeStefanis. He said he’s talking to people who saw property value increases of $50,000 or more and can’t afford another tax increase on top of that.

Comments

I find it interesting how our property values can increase 20-50,000+, we all got notification of our new values, Lombardi can propose a tax-increase he calls necessary, yet he doesn't know how much revenues will increase with all of our home values now inflated to increase our tax-rates. We do not need a tax increase in this town, we need a tax-decrease to spur business activity.

Hey folks you get what you voted for, your Mayor that ran again on no new taxes for 3-4 years, what a joke.
Ray is correct on this, the Mayor is playing games with our tax dollars with this reevaluation scheme.
At the last town meeting Kristen Catanzaro brought up the assessed values were wrong and asked that same question of how can a tax rate be set without firm numbers. The TC just shrugged their shoulders and said let's send it back to the Mayor. Glad to see Ray pick up the ball and continue to ask the questions. In the end we will continue to be the 3rd highest taxed community because we don't have a financially responsible Mayor.

Ahh, the follies continue. No new taxes!!! As William Shakespeare once wrote, "I say there is no darkness but ignorance"....
The madness doth reign...

RAY, RAY, RAY, shame on you for questioning the MAYOR. If you keep it up, you will not be in his good graces. You will feel his WRATH.
Remember, "READ MY LIPS, NO NEW TAXES." How did that work for Brush?
Anyway, thank you for standing up to him on this issue.