Budget Commission Sends Homestead Reduction - Car Tax Combo To General Assembly

One-time vehicle tax will raise $500K, Homestead drop will raise $2 million.


The Woonsocket Budget Commission voted yesterday to add $2.5 million to this year's tax levy with a one-time supplemental tax bill on vehicles at about 6.2 percent of 2012's bill and shrinking the Homestead Exemption permanently to 29.9 percent.

The Commission voted to approve the new tax bills at about 4 p.m. in Harris Hall at City Hall.

State law doesn't allow the city to keep the vehicle tax that high perpetually, so subsequent years will raise the entire extra $2.5 million annually needed to balance the city's books entirely from lowering the Homestead Exemption, this time to 27.5 percent.

The move is a combination of elements of several options outlined by Tax Assessor Chris Celeste during the last Budget Commission meeting, tweaking the homestead reduction from option B3 and the car excise tax idea from option A2.

Supplemental tax bills sent this year will be between 6 and 6.5 percent of last year's bill for vehicle taxes. Celeste said the bill on a car valued at $15,000 would be $40. 

Celeste noted that supplemental bills on vehicles have a low collection rate, but Mayor Leo Fontaine said the city will catch up with delinquent vehicle owners in November at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Fontaine said the supplemental car tax would involve people who don't own homes in the solution of the city's deficit. He said it's unfortunate the tax has to fall back on residential property owners after this year. "I feel at least we should be doing this," Fontaine said.

The supplemental tax bill for the average residential home at $150,000 will be about $437, Celeste said.

Sending out each round of supplemental tax bills requires General Assembly approval, since it will raise taxes above the four percent cap this year. The Budget Commission will send a resolution asking for permission to assess the bills to the General Assembly.

The Budget Commission will also send enabling legislation to create an elderly tax exemption for people 65 and over living in single family homes. Budget Commission member and City Council President John Ward said the exemption would apply to people meeting the age requirement, who have lived in their home for at least 5 years and make $30,000 or less.

If a senior meets all those requirements, the first $12,000 worth of their home would be exempt from taxes, Ward said. He said the Commission will likely add multi-family homes to the exemption, since there are many elderly residents who've been living in such homes all their lives. City Council Vice President Dan Gendron made the suggestion during the meeting. 

The supplemental tax bill is one part of the 5-year plan to make the city solvent again. It will need to pass at the General Assembly, as will concessions from town employees and retirees.

Monkeyshines February 27, 2013 at 09:03 PM
The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples money...
Lotus Lily February 27, 2013 at 11:10 PM
Monkeyshines obviously you have missed my point it's not that people don't want to work there's just no jobs here this city's turning into a ghost town and our politicians don't even care because they are still getting theirs! My whole point was we need to bring jobs to this area instead of them leaving because this city sucks and is so corrupt!!!!!!!
Woon Taxpayer February 27, 2013 at 11:56 PM
I want to know who voted to NOT include Commercial properties in the extra tax(?) Fontaine? Ward? Did any Council members speak out on this? I say lobby the State Reps to not support this!
Woon Taxpayer February 28, 2013 at 12:00 AM
We all must like it (getting screwed) because we keep electing them! WHen will we finally get and when will we remember which elected official voted in favor of these increases and vote them OUT
Woon Taxpayer February 28, 2013 at 12:04 AM
The solution is to register your car or truck out of sate (some relative's address), and let them try to catch you... there isn't anything they (the city) can do, since 'they have to prove' you actually live in the city for more than 183 days/year
Woon Taxpayer February 28, 2013 at 12:07 AM
CVS won't be paying - the BAnks won't be paying, the Real Estate companies won't be paying, the Holiday Inn won't be paying, and on and on... YOU are paying for them! Your Mayor and Council felt it was OK for you to pay for them
Meesh February 28, 2013 at 12:11 AM
Woon Taxpayer February 28, 2013 at 12:13 AM
You my friend speak the truth. And if you look beyond this pitiful City, the State and the National govenment are the same. *You didn't mention (in your etceteras) free cell phones, free transportation...
Woon Taxpayer February 28, 2013 at 12:15 AM
At least Obama wants to keep taxing the rich! In Woonsocket, your Mayor and City Council want to exempt the rich (Commercial)
robbie February 28, 2013 at 12:54 AM
ok who can give me the assembly email addy ......................so many of the people of woonsocket can tell them enough is enough. not only are companies leaving the city but the homeowners are as well........when the market goes up i will also be leaving and moving to mass.keep it up soon you will have nothing but a ghost town here in woonsocket then who will pay the tax.
David T February 28, 2013 at 01:57 AM
This proposal should include all property owners and businesses including the multi-familys, apartment complexes and condos. And if the mayor wants to include car owners it should just be for those who live in non-taxable dwellings. This was supposed to be shared sacrifice, remember last year? The unions workers and pensioners will hopefully do their part and then the rest of us have to do our part. I'm sorry to predict that the GA will vote no on this. It puts too much of the burden on single family home owners under, which is not fair.
Rob Borkowski (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 06:10 AM
That was covered in my story on last week's meeting: http://woonsocket.patch.com/articles/budget-commission-tables-supplemental-tax-vote-till-tuesday First, the governmental body in question is the Budget Commission, not the City Council - the Commission was appointed last spring by the Governor and their calls supersede the City Council's on all financial matters. Now that we're talking apples and apples — Budget Commission member Peder Schaefer took credit/leadership on that one. The rest of the Commission followed his lead. Short answer: The entire Budget Commission.
Rob Borkowski (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 06:28 AM
The numbers for the House Leadership: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Pages/HouseLeadership.aspx The numbers for the Senate Leadership: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Pages/SenateLeadership.aspx Or, more locally: Rep-casey@rilin.state.us Rep-baldellihunt@rilin.state.us Rep-phillips@rilin.state.us Sen-cote@rilin.state.us Sen-picard@rilin.state.us (I was strongly tempted to direct you to http://lmgtfy.com/)
Monkeyshines February 28, 2013 at 11:40 AM
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. 2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. 3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. 4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it! 5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation
CB11 February 28, 2013 at 01:22 PM
...but their acrylic nails are beautiful, not to mention the artwork in their tattoos .....
CB11 February 28, 2013 at 01:25 PM
The Unions take concessions ....ha!ha!ha! Jason, you are one funny guy! Thanks for the best laugh I've had all morning!
Kyle February 28, 2013 at 02:47 PM
I think we blame each other too much while the real problem in the first place was the over spending of the city officials. They should reduce their spending by doing less of what they are doing because what they are doing isn't working out. Should be like a car, the less you move, the less gas you consume, the less money it takes to fill up. Let's just stop blaming ourselves for something we didn't do. Also, I am confused about people talking about freeloaders in the city. Aren't they funded by the federal government and not the city?
Paradis February 28, 2013 at 03:27 PM
As Rob pointed out, the city council didn't vote on this; however, Mayor Leo Fontaine and Council President John Ward are on the Budget Committee that voted to send this on to the Senate.
Nick February 28, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Have you really looked at your taxes lately? I did. Regardless of the fact that my property value has decrease 46% in the last 6 years, my tax has risen 51%. It’s been mentioned they have a cap of 4%. That’s BS. Last year my tax went up 13.55% without any general assembly modification. Keeping the tax rate the same and just modifying the exemption from .39 to .29 my taxes will go up $588. Now they want an addition 5%? ( $175). Knowing these greedy little pigs you can expect the tax rate to change 4% on top of that without the general assembly’s approval ($140), now we’re up $904. They need to put their cards on the table. Want a solution, stop funding the school department that can’t live within their budget or get the state to kick in for the people not paying taxes. Year Property Value Tax charged % increase in tax 2005 $2,327 2006 $261,200 $2,429 4.39% 2007 $261,200 $2,523 3.87% 2008 $261,200 $2,592 2.72% 2009 $212,600 $2,757 6.38% 2010 $212,600 $2,914 5.68% 2011 $212,600 $3,095 6.22% 2012 $178,600 $3,515 13.55% 2013 $178,600 $4,279 21.75% Projected Find anyone’s taxes in Woonsocket at http://www.ci.woonsocket.ri.us/assessor.htm You’ll see the same results.
Nick February 28, 2013 at 09:14 PM
OK so now the city has posted the meeting minutes at http://www.ci.woonsocket.ri.us/budget.htm It's pretty clear they want to raise 2.5 million dollars using both the single family homeowner/condominiums and the motor vehicle owners the first year. Then they eliminate the motor vehicle owners from the equation and use just the homeowners. The tax is permanent. The legislation also opens the door to eliminate the exemption entirely. So if 39% to 29% raises 2.5 million what does 29%-0 raise? They will not need the general assembly after this legislation goes through. (sp)
Yvette M Ayotte February 28, 2013 at 11:18 PM
I second that, Paradis!!!
Jerry March 01, 2013 at 12:47 AM
In order for our present politicians not to be re-elected, they have to stop giving the high rises, (senior citizens, "good meals". Let's face it, that's where most of our voters come from. I think taxpayers should make the effort to go visit them and tell them the truth and what's really going on, when the time comes. Maybe if we all show them our bills that we all struggle with, they just might actually feel bad.
Jerry March 01, 2013 at 12:55 AM
I think all of Woonsocket's "scum" would leave Woonsocket if all welfare recipients were required to be drug tested before they were allowed housing. That would weed out about 65%. Wouldn't that be something if our "reps" would put in that kind of legislation? But no, they need their votes !!
CB11 March 01, 2013 at 01:12 PM
So true - I have relatives who live there and whenever elections come around, they equate who they are voting for, not with the politician's views, but with the meal they were given during his/her campaign! "I'm voting for David Cicillini - he gave us a real good chicken dinner!" Talk about preying on the elderly!
CB11 March 01, 2013 at 01:18 PM
But Jerry ... that's not fair! Only those who WORK for a living should be subjected to that! I have never understood the reasoning behind not drug testing those who CHOOSE to accept government aid. We care so much "about the children" but see no reason to make sure those taking care of them aren't hopped up on coke or meth! What hypocrisy!
Nelson Aldrich March 01, 2013 at 01:45 PM
Woonsocket's bankrupt...just remember everybody,receiver or no receiver,the City's creditors are getting paid 100 cents on the dollar plus interest (TAX FREE).You can thank your reps for that,it's called the Fiscal Stability Act of 2010 and it makes sure that bondholders get paid first. I've never heard of a "bankruptcy" that doesn't include creditors and just because Woonsocket is a municipality shouldn't make it exempt.The City needs a fresh start and that can only be achieved through some form of debt relief,amongst other things. There's a big piece of the puzzle missing folks.Don't worry about bond ratings either,Woonsocket's credit stinks.
The Chorus March 01, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Federal courts have struck down drug testing for people on public assistance. I think AZ and FL have passed such laws...both overturned on appeal at federal level.
Novan for Life March 23, 2013 at 12:42 AM
some of those scum could be homeowners and the majority of food stamp recipients in this city are white.
Lotus Lily March 23, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Agreed, if anything it makes me wonder why on both local and federal level why none of those in power are willing to take pay cuts and make concessions like maybe paying more for the nice government sponsored health care!?!? Kyle is right instead of attacking each other we should be looking at our elected leaders who have gotten us into this mess in the first place, including the school department! I have to travel for my job and no matter where I go I always here the same things, "You're based in RI poor you they are the most corrupt state in all of the 50 states", or "Man I'm sorry you live in a state where politicians always put themselves above those they serve." And I get this no matter where in the country I go, which is why I am going to be so glad when I get to leave this rat hole city and state and move on to greener pastures! You know where there are actual jobs and not so rampant widespread tolerated corruption and live in a community that cares about ALL it's people not just some! And Kyle to answer your question yes the federal government does fund these programs but it's up to each state individually as to how the money is spent and the programs are run and with a corrupt as hell city like ours that was a disaster waiting to happen! I so hope I won't even have to be here for the next elections because nothing's going to change and this city will slowly suck the life out of everyone! Adios Rhode Island and Woonsocket in particular!
Monkeyshines March 23, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Who is John Galt?


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