Tax Assessor Details Revaluation Process

by | Mar 14, 2024

Her office has been fielding lots of questions after the average 45% increase in valuations

Town Tax Assessor Chelsea Romano briefed the Town Council Monday on the new property revaluations and acknowledged after the meeting it might have been a good idea to make the presentation before new property valuation letters went out

That’s because she’s gotten a lot of phone calls from worried residents over the big increase in valuations. In addition, the number of requests for immediate informal hearings was so great they ended up adding extra days, with the last of the hearings scheduled for March 21. 

At the meeting Monday night, Romano noted this was the first so-called full revaluation in nine years. State law dictates what’s known as a statistical reval every three years and a full reval every nine. For the full reval, New England Revaluation was hired to canvas the entire town, looking to gain entry and see the inside of the structure. 

Resident Bruce LeBlanc of Red Oak Road attended the Town Council meeting and said no one ever came to his house. Romano said the company had gone door-to-door. If someone wasn’t open, they left a sticky note with their contact info on the door. But a NE Reval representative said the sticky notes can fall off. He said they don’t use something with stronger stick in case the residents were away – an unclaimed note could tip off people that no one was home, he said. 

LeBlanc said his house had increased in value way too much. According to the records, the house had been valued at $357,000 in 2020; the new assessment was $521,000, a 45.9 percent increase. It turns out, that’s just above the average valuation increase of 45 percent. Romano said on Wednesday NE Reval had been out to the LeBlanc house earlier that day. 

Romano told the Town Council that residential values were up across the board, with no one neighborhood markedly above others. But, she added, manufactured homes (aka mobile homes) saw a particularly large increase averaging 70 percent higher than in 2020.

“Manufactured house assessments really went up,” she said, citing one that went from $59K in 2020 to $111K in 2023. Those residences are becoming more popular as starter or retirement homes because of their relative affordability and the tight housing market.

Romano said commercial buildings in general saw smaller increases in valuation, except for mixed use building, apartment buildings and self-storage facilities.

On Wednesday, Romano said Narragansett and Barrington are also undergoing full revaluations this year. East Greenwich was farther along, she said, noting that residents in those communities did not yet have their new valuations.

She said most owners who have called just wanted to understand the process a little better. Some worried the new assessment would mean a much higher property tax bill. But tax bills are based on the tax rate set when next fiscal year’s budget is approved. That won’t happen until June (though a draft budget out by May 1 will give owners some idea of what the eventual rate will be). If your property has increased by 45 percent (the average residential valuation increase this year), then your bill will probably go up roughly by whatever amount the Town Council approves (4 percent or less). If your percent increase is higher than 45 percent, your tax bill will go up more, potentially a lot more. Conversely, if your percent increase falls below 45 percent, your tax bill could even be lower than this year’s bill.

Those who asked for an informal hearing will get another letter from the town in coming weeks, listing their valuation, which may or may not have changed. If a property owner is still unhappy with their assessment, formal appeals will take place in September. 

Read our previous coverage HERE.

Value the news you get here on East Greenwich News? As a 501-c3, we depend on reader support. Become a sustaining (monthly) donor or make a one-time donation! Click on the Donate button below or send a check to EG News, 18 Prospect St., East Greenwich, RI 02818. Thanks.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
March 15, 2024 7:43 am

Isn’t there a state law to protect hard working people from tax increases > 4%?

With no say in the budget, looming “decisions” on the school system, flooded streets, crumbing infrastructure, and questionable new establishments on Main Street it would be nice to know what this money will be spent on.

Ray Riccio
Ray Riccio
March 15, 2024 10:03 am

The actual bottom line in my opinion is the mismanagement of the Town’s finances.

My taxes since around 2002 have increased over 200% if not closer to the 250% mark.

The many times I have appealed my valuation. Before sitting down with a Rep from NEVAL for such purpose I always asked, if I as for comparison purpose of contrast propose an improper assessment I don’t expect the property I used as comparison to be effected. If that property‘s assessment will be increased I will just walk away and not contest my assessment. I was assured that will not happen. That is exactly what happened. Approaching the Tax Assessors Department about such a blatant lie I was told oh we make mistakes. The whole system is a mistake. 

If I recall not all that long ago a new Plat in EG did not receive a tax bill/assessments for a number of years. When discovered considerable tax bills were sent and received by the inhabitants which not only effected them but the shortfall covered by all the other property owners throughout EG during such period. I hear so much about the irrational reasoning for why the Hill & Harbor District’s assessments are extremely overvalued. Maybe it’s time to determine on how each category of neighborhoods are listed. Discrepancies abound.

Sending interns out to value property doesn’t cut it. I have Clapboard siding not Vinyl Siding as once listed. If you can’t tell the difference, maybe assessments just isn’t your calling. I’ve taught CPE & CLE classes. I have witnessed incompetence throughout. These positions at times are not just 9-5 jobs. 

Remember the time when the Finance Department paid a duplicate $300,000+ bill twice. If it wasn’t for a reputable contractor the mistake never would have been uncovered. 
School your people. The majority of people in the Finance Department with all the technology at everyone’s disposal cannot even amortize a simple interest loan, specifically concerning the sewer assessments. With such tax discrepancies “the chickens have finally come home to roost.” Embarrassing. 

Ray Riccio
Ray Riccio
March 16, 2024 8:54 am
Reply to  Ray Riccio

An addendum to my own comment.
Why aren’t the exemptions for veterans (disabled or not) elderly, disabled, low-income prorated in proportion to the increase in property values. Some towns allow it & also allow a disabled veterans an allowance based on their % of disability not just if the veteran is 100% disabled. *Cranston, RI allows a $250,000 exemption for 100% disabled veterans. The purpose (in case forgotten) of exemptions is to lessen the tax burden as one’s earning power declines. I find it rather somber when elderly has to have the Town defer taxes on his/her property payable at death/when the property is transferred.

“Now my advice for those who die, Declare the pennies on your eyes,
Cause I’m the Taxman,”

* All this info is online. Some under, Report on the Veteran, Senior, and Other Tax Exemption Programs promulgated by the RI DOR.

Barbara Doorley
Barbara Doorley
March 15, 2024 9:52 pm

How can someone that works full time make an appointment to appeal the valuation of their house?
I get back to EG between 415-430PM … Are there any evening hours for the tax payers?

March 16, 2024 10:19 am

I received a nice tax break a couple of years ago due to my age – older than dirt as they say. This enormous (for us) tax increase will no doubt erase that nice gain. Ya can’t win.

March 19, 2024 12:40 pm

Thank you for that — please correct me if I am wrong in the following: it was my understanding that any valuation of a home that exceeded 45% would see a large increase. My valuation went up by 85%.

Hope you are correct. Thanks again.

March 19, 2024 7:00 pm

Reached out today in person. It was taken care of and the valuation was adjusted. So all is well in EG Land. Thanks again.


Newsletter Sign Up

* indicates required


Latest Streaming