Residential tax rate increase of 43 cents over FY2023
The Town Council approved a $83.4 million budget Monday night, an increase of $3.7 million over the 2023 fiscal year budget that ends June 30. The budget is largely unchanged from the budget presented by Town Manager Andy Nota in early May. It retained a school appropriated that is $500,000 less than what the School Committee asked for.
The residential tax rate will be in $21.85 (give or take a penny or two in final calculations), up 43 cents (2 percent*) over the current year. For the average homeowner, with a house worth $501,608, that comes out to a $10,960 property tax bill, an increase of $235 over the current year.
The commercial property tax rate of $24.93 is an increase of 77 cents (3.18 percent) over the current year.
The most time was spent discussing the personal property (or tangible) tax rate – which applies only to businesses (aka equipment and furnishing). Current bills in the General Assembly call for a cap in the personal property rate and an exemption of all personal property up to $50,000 starting in 2025. The town’s tangible tax rate for the current fiscal year is $31.77 but because of these two measures, the town decided to raise the local exemption from $2,500 to $35,000 (if the law passes it will have to increase to $50,000 next year) and boost the rate to $45.50 since that number could be frozen at that rate if the law passes. (The idea behind having higher commercial and personal property tax rates is to be able to moderate any increases in the residential rate.)
According to Nota, 430 businesses were on the roll with the $2,500 exemption. The $35,000 exemption will eliminate close to 250 more businesses from the tax roll, leaving approximately 185 businesses on the roll. With an exemption of $50,000, another 30-50 businesses will be removed.**
The only other changes in the budget were increases for the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce and to the EG Free Library.
The EG Free Library had been set to get a $10,000 increase in their allocation of $546,000 but Nota recommended the library get an additional $6,000 (a 3 percent increase). It was still short of the 6 percent increase the library had requested but after the vote Head Librarian Adrianne Girard told the council and Nota she was grateful for the additional funds.
Town Manager Nota recommended the base amount to the EG Chamber be increased by 50 percent, from $20,000 to $30,000, with an additional $5,000 to be used for things like the popular holiday light show from last December.
Nota said later the town was expanding its work with the EG Chamber on outdoor community activities (aka the Main Street Strolls, etc.), using the chamber as a de facto economic development arm, since the town does not have anyone filling that role.
“We feel strongly that the town’s working partnership with the chamber is an incredibly productive investment,” said Nota.
“We greatly appreciate that the EG Town Council and EG Town Manager Andy Nota recognize the impact of increased activities and the EG Chamber’s promotion of East Greenwich as a destination,” said EG Chamber’s Steve Lombardi Tuesday. “The increase of activity benefits our small businesses, brings visitors to EG and provides residents with wholesome family entertainment.”
The School Committee will have to resolve their $500,000 budget shortfall. They meet next on Tuesday, June 20.
*The percent originally listed (2.95) was incorrect. We regret the error.
**This paragraph was added after the story originally posted.