Revaluation sees 17% average increase in N.S.; Questions were addressed at Monday meeting

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – Northeast Revaluation Group has completed the full revaluation of properties, raising values in North Smithfield by an average of 17 percent, an increase town officials warned this week does not necessarily come with a higher tax payment.

Letters stating new property assessments were mailed to all homes and businesses on Thursday, March 10 notifying owners of the changes as part of a process required by state law every nine years.

“Some will be higher than the average and some will be lower,” noted a release on the revaluations from the town. “The Rhode Island real estate market is experiencing large increases. Any changes in the value have no effect on the tax rate.”

Town Council President John Bearegard noted that he’s heard some questions about how the company arrived at the new values, leading him to request discussion of the matter to be added to the board’s agenda for their meeting on Monday, March 21.

“It’s going to be more of a general conversation,” Beauregard told NRI NOW. “I just want to make the extra effort to bring home the point that you can appeal this.”

The increase came as a result of the full revaluation completed as of Friday, Dec. 31. The process is required in all municipalities in Rhode Island every nine years to bring assessed values in line with current market values, while a less thorough statistical revaluation is completed every three years.

On Monday, Tax Assessor Jennifer St. George will give a brief presentation on the changes followed by a public questions and answer session with her, and Finance Director Cynthia DeJesus. Beauregard said that those unable to attend the session are welcomed to contact him in advance at johnbforns@yahoo.com and he will present questions for them.

“There’s a very legitimate and upfront policy,” Beauregard said. “I just really want to make sure people are aware of it.”

While the new values will be used to calculate 2022 tax bills, those trying to guess how the change in value will affect their payment won’t have much luck: rates change annually and won’t be set by the Town Council until June. With the high increase in values, inevitably, the rate will be lowered in 2022.

“Municipality are not allowed to increase revenue based on a revaluation,” noted officials in the town newsletter. “Therefore, the rates are lowered in relation to the increase in values. The tax rate is determined by the budget. Do not apply current tax rates to the new assessment.”

Northeast warned that values sent out this week also don’t reflect any tax exemptions, and that those whose taxes are frozen will still have the same payment.

A listing of all properties with past and current assessment information can be found at https://data.nereval.com/SearchInfo.aspx?town=North+Smithfield and is also available at the assessor’s office during normal business hours. The listing aims to allow residents to compare their assessment to their neighbors’ and to other similar properties.

Beauregard said he would like to see some sort of trigger put in place to provide special notification for those whose value changes are way out of line with others in their neighborhood. He noted that so far, he’s been told that not many people have reached out to Northeast with concerns.

“The vast majority of people don’t pay attention. They just go about their lives,” Beauregard said. “This is a big deal.”

Those who can demonstrate that their appraisal is in access of market value can request a public hearing, and are asked to contact Northeast at (401) 737-0300 between 9 a.m and 4 p.m. by Saturday, March 25. Appointments can also be scheduled online at https://nereval.com/

Editor’s note: To hear discussion from the meeting held on Monday, March 21 visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zflarNhdf5o

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1 COMMENT

  1. This is just a sneaky way to raise taxes. What happens is the budget is increased and the rate is then determined but the taxpayer never knows what the actual rate was before the budget increase. Also not every taxpayers rate goes up equally so many taxpayers with large increases in value will see a significant increase in taxes. Also the method used by the revaluation company is just a mathematical formula that does not take into account house condition, location and other factors that can increase or decrease the value. Just remember someone has to pay for a football field, police station and senior center so you do a revaluation to increase top line revenue by more than 4% to avoid the state statute. Beware of the beast politician he/she will make a desert of your paradise.

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