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Letter: Mancieri Offers Budget Commission Revenue Raising Ideas

Writer expresses concern that all revenue options be explored before raising taxes.

 

Editor's note: The following letter was submitted to the Woonsocket Budget Commission Sept. 2:

Budget Commission Members, I would like to share my thoughts and ideas with you as you work towards closing our deficit here in the City. 

We need to look at alternate ways of producing revenue without going to the taxpayers first.  One way of doing that is applying fees to vacant/abandoned property owners that are creating blight in our neighborhoods and bringing down our property values. 

There is a list of nearly 250 vacant properties which we could be producing revenue off of if we assessed fines for being on that list.  I would suggest that after one year of being on the list, we place a $500 fine, and then a $100 fine for each month after that.

If the fines are not paid in six months, a lien should be placed on the property to be paid by the owner when they sell the property.  All property must transfer free and clear of title and any liens on the property. 

We also should be using the non-utilization fee for property that is not for sale for one year or no work has been done on the property for one year.  I would also like to see this be applied to vacant land that is prime for economic development.  We could afford to hire one or two individuals to monitor this and still end up with positive cash flow from the money we collect.  

We also need to sell any assets we can before a supplemental tax is implemented.  I would like to see the budget commission sell our former middle school at Park Place and the Feinstein Learning Center on Social Street.  It would be bring in money and put two properties back on the tax rolls.  These properties need to be listed with a brokerage firm to bring in higher offers than an auction would. 

We also have many vacant lots in the City that we could sell for little money but at least we would not be responsible to maintain them and would bring in some tax dollars. 

We are struggling to upkeep our properties and parks and we need to reduce our supply in order to better upkeep our city appearance. I am not satisfied with just an universal healthcare plan and small pension obligation changes, as I feel that most likely will not result in enough saving to produce a lower supplemental tax bill. 

The taxpayers in Woonsocket are maxed out with higher water and sewer fees coming as well.  I am strongly urging you to warn our residents months before what their tax bill will be so they can save money and give them as least three months over time to pay the bill.  I see how many foreclosures and short sales dominate our real estate market and I do not want more to come because of this increase in taxes. 

I also believe the supplemental tax increase should go down every year and be eliminated completely as our state aid increases each year.  

It is also disappointing to see your meetings at 3 p.m.  If you want people to be involved and ask questions, you should meet at a time more convenient for the people who work during the day.  I care about my city greatly and I hope that you will listen to all our concerns and comments.  I can appreciate the difficult work that you have before you and I truly hope that you are successful.  I have forwarded this email to the council and media as well to inform them of these ideas to generate public support and get more people involved in helping our community.

—Garrett Mancieri

Russell Archambault September 04, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Garrett Mancieri, here's a genius !
Mr. Sluggo September 04, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Please,please,please.....tax me to death but give me advance notice.I promise to switch to hot dogs while you guys eat steak!
Steve September 04, 2012 at 08:58 PM
I don't understand Garret's line of thinking. If there's a valid property owner, then abandoned or not, they should be paying property taxes right? This is the Economic Development Department's line of thinking when looking at Walmart on Diamond Hill Rd.? They own it, they pay taxes regardless if it's occupied or not..... No taxes paid, it sells at a tax sale............... done. And for non-use, I believe there are already conditions in the City Charter that address this as well. So not sure where this idea comes from. On the vacant lots and properties, this is common sense, but who on earth will buy these properties with a zoning board like the one we have here. Just crazy! Knock Park Place and the Social St. building down and turn them into small parks. Done. And for union negotiations, nice try, but in this state, when the unions run the system and GA, you stand a better chance of seeing the Red Sox making the playoffs than you do any meaningful union negotiations...... Nice try though........... Garret, address the real problem in Woonsocket, WED and RIDE! Get them to get their house in order and all in Woonsocket is well.........
Russell Archambault September 04, 2012 at 09:25 PM
hire people to over see this? Ill do it on a commision bases.or any basis i need a job to pay my taxes and the building that I cant finish because im paying taxes and I cant keep up. by the way that building is worth more than any other building on the street. Mancieri lets get me more ! what about the vacant land that is up in the industrial park that nobody wants because we have comm. rate of 36.14 and in the same park cumberland has a rate of 15.34. OK I got it, if no one build there on the woonsocket side, lets hire trucks to take the soil and get rid of it. we can haul it to the cumberland side. then we would not have any more land to worry about. that would get rid of the land i sore, in the industrial park. Got that solved. I got better ideas for the vacant buildings. any one want to hear those ideas.
Russell Archambault September 04, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Steve there a supreme court ruling on abandoned property. before he talks he would be better learning about it first.
Russell Archambault September 04, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Garrett Mancieri when I become mayor your fired
Russell Archambault September 04, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Garret states, We also need to sell any assets we can before a supplemental tax is implemented. LETS SELL HIS DESK
DR September 04, 2012 at 09:37 PM
It is great to see more people get involved instead of complaining. Good job Garrett !
Russell Archambault September 04, 2012 at 09:39 PM
BETTER YET LETS HAVE A GIANT CITY SALE , EVEN BETTER LETS SELL EVERYTHING ON EBAY.
Novan for Life September 04, 2012 at 11:36 PM
wow steve still on WED kick huh? well i do believe the WED has its house in order$66.6 million budget which according to RIDE this a barebone number, i do think the budget commission needs to get there house in order the city now faces a $7million deficit that they can't cover. so lets look at both sides of government will ya
Novan for Life September 04, 2012 at 11:38 PM
well i agree russell better than what garrett proposes i guess
la_mouffette September 05, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Hang on... I thought we already had a (rather large) fine for vacant property? Do we not have that? It came up as part of the conversation re: that homeless-to-housing set up that's going up near Wood ave.
Russell Archambault September 05, 2012 at 01:47 AM
LA the homeless home is on burnside. this is what happens when a person cant do what he's hired to do. theres not only one of them theres two in city hall. they have to come up with things to do so they justify themselves.This statement is right from city hall.
Really? September 05, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Really? Like other people said, the city already collects taxes even on vacant property, and there is already a penalty for properties vacant over a year I believe. Mancini also says that they should sell the old middle school. Duh ! didn't I hear that there is already a deal signed for it. Seems to me that garret spends too much time writing letters to newspapers saying why he should have been elected but puts out ideas that he hasn't even researched and mostly things that re already done. Here,s a great idea, why doesn't the city have guys that drive around in red trucks and put out fires ?If theres one thing worse than a politician, it's a politician wanna be. time to go back to your room in yourarents basement and write another letter Garret.
Still Hope September 05, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I don't think any of this info is correct. As far as I know banks are not required to pay property tax. A lot of times, back taxes are taken care of by escrow. Other times a lien goes up. Sometimes the bank will pony up, especially if it's just chump change. These are all things to look for in a short sale or foreclosure. I believe HUD won't sponsor a house with property taxes owed. As far as once the bank takes the property back, I don't believe taxes are assessed until the sale is completed. This usually isn't a problem since most banks want to clear inventory ASAP. Also, keep in mind that banks ARE obligated to maintain the properties, especially wih regard to lawns and junk removal. I have heard of towns making banks register foreclosed houses and changing the one time fee. This is usually $100 type recording fee money, not really a revenue generator. If you would like to suggest that towns collect accruing taxes on sitting foreclosures, be prepared to staff your legal team. If the discussion would to turn to privately owned vacant properties then you have a whole different animal. Careful here though, I don't know if I like the government telling me what I can and can't do with my property. Should someone be fined for leaving an apt empty? Should someone be fined for leaving a commercial property unrented because they don't like the market? Should someone not be able to sit on 2 acres of beautiful grassland? Sounds unconstitutional to me
Marc Beauregard September 05, 2012 at 05:56 PM
The city can make a ton of money if they sell property like Al Brien and Lisa Baldelli? Look at the lot on Winter St. Al Brien bought a piece of land from himself then sold it to Lisa Baldelli the same day for $110,000 more. Why can't the city make deals like this?
Mr. Sluggo September 05, 2012 at 06:54 PM
I blame Lisa Baldelli for the turkey vultures.
Memere September 05, 2012 at 08:02 PM
If a person owns property in Woonsocket and pays all taxes on it yearly, and does not do anything to endanger the neighbors, he should be able to do what he wants to with that property. This is America, after all, and we do have our freedoms. If a person owns an extra lot, pays his taxes but chooses to leave it "au natural" that should be his choice, as long as it does not endanger the neighbors. Although, Mr. Mancini does bring up some good points, I think that some of his suggestions do infringe on personal freedom. Our we to become like Nazi Germany where we have to be constantly looking over our shoulder because "Big Brother" is watching? I wonder if Mr. Mancini has a little conflict of interest in this since he is a realtor . Did he ever stop and think that perhaps a homeowner is not updating his property because perhaps he cannot afford to do so because he is trying to keep up with our high taxes and constant fees such as sewer and trash?????Or perhaps he just lost his job? Wouldn't it be better to help our neighbors with house repairs or to clean up their yards instead of taxing them to death or trying to confiscate their property?
Steve September 05, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Common man! The first pass of the WED's budget this year was somewhere in the 69 million dollar range until RIDE got involved. Then, all of a sudden, they're down to 66 and change! Inept, you bet, always has been, always will be! What's 3 million among friends right? If these baffoons where running a private business, they would all be jobless by now...... But I guess this type of job performance is acceptable by today's standards. Sad to say the least! The city needs to close another school other than 5th ave. and layoff another 15 to 20 teachers and supporting staff to get in line with what the tax paying base of Woonsocket and the state is willing to provide. The hand writing is on the wall, and makes total sense.
la_mouffette September 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM
haha! Touche, J... And why didn't she come up with a complete plan to balance the budget and present it to the Mayor and City Council, wrapped in a bow? And why isn't she here, vacuuming my house? What? ...what do you mean, that's MY job??

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