Council Vote Could Lead to Tiered Tax Rates

by | Feb 24, 2019

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The Town Council Monday will vote on a resolution supporting legislation that would allow the town to charge different tax rates for residential, commercial, industrial and tangible goods in non-revaluation years. (The town conducts revaluations every three years; its last revaluation was 2018.) This is not a vote on tax rates themselves – that won’t come until June – but on the possibility of going from one flat rate for all categories to different rates. 

East Greenwich is surrounded by communities that impose a higher tax rate on commercial, industrial and tangible goods (Warwick, West Warwick, Coventry). Former EG Town Councils have opted for a flat rate across categories as a way to be “business friendly.”

Council Vice President Michael Donegan talked about varying the tax rate during the campaign. On Sunday he said the action Monday was just a first step and, if the council and General Assembly approve, “there will be a full vetting of any, if any, changes.”

He added, “EG has taken the position that they are pro-business. The residents have been subsidizing those classes. We might still decide to keep it that way but we can at least talk about it.”

Other municipalities in the state have received the same permission from the General Assembly, including Providence, Glocester, Middletown, Little Compton, Scituate, and Coventry.

Also on the agenda Monday, the council will continue its “orientation” with reports from both the police and fire departments about how they are structured, what they are responsible for and their priorities for 2019.  

Also on the agenda, the council will vote on approving a $438,000 bid to re-slate the Town Hall roof. The meeting at Town Hall starts at 7 p.m. Find the full agenda here.

On Tuesday, the School Committee will meet in the library at Cole Middle School. On the agenda (find it here: School Committee Agenda 2/26/19), the panel will vote on a resolution asking the state to stabilize funding in light of a proposed $600,000 cut to the district this year and on a revised facilities rental policy. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

It’s a request to the state for stabilization in our funding in light of the significant cut we are facing in state aid. Several other school committees around the state have passed similar resolutions.

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