NEWS

Citing unstable market, city seeks delay in revaluation

Posted 3/23/22

By ALEX MALM

The City Council approved Monday a resolution asking General Assembly approval to delay the city revaluation by one year.

“This is new times,” said Council President …

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NEWS

Citing unstable market, city seeks delay in revaluation

Posted

By ALEX MALM

The City Council approved Monday a resolution asking General Assembly approval to delay the city revaluation by one year.

“This is new times,” said Council President Steve McAllister.

McAllister was referring to the unprecedented high prices for properties across the city, state and country.

He pointed to his Greenwood neighborhood saying that some homes are selling for more than $400,000. McAllister said that a few years ago those same homes were selling for around $250,000.

“That's a huge increase,” said McAllister.

Tax Assessor Neal Dupuis said he has been doing revaluations for over 35 years and “This is by far the worst unstable real estate market I have ever seen.”

Given the uncertainty of the real estate market, Mayor Frank Picozzi requested the Council pursue the delay in order to see if the market evens out.

If approved the delay would mean property values set three years ago would be used in calculating the tax rate this year.

McAllister pointed out that Johnston, East Providence and Lincoln have all passed similar resolutions. He said Jamestown is going to be considering doing the same.

He also pointed to Connecticut which has proposed legislation that would allow all cities and towns to delay implementing revaluations if they choose to.

“This is not an issue unique to Warwick, Rhode Island,” said McAllister.

Dupuis said that the city started the revaluation over a year ago.

“At that time we knew it was going to be a challenging one,” said Dupuis.

Dupuis said that what the city didn’t know last year was how limited the housing market would be, which has a major impact on valuations.

Usually on any given day Warwick has 250 to 300 houses for sale, Dupuis said. He said as of Monday there were only 61 for sale.

“Warwick is a desirable place to live; it is an affordable place to live,” said Dupuis.

Dupuis said that right now there isn’t a balance between the supply and demand which is needed for a stable market. He also pointed out that the same issues are true for commercial properties.

“We don’t have a stable market on the commercial side, we don't have a stable market on the residential side,” said Dupuis.

With that said Dupuis said he doesn’t think it is prudent to implement values that experts don’t think are going to be stable.

According to Dupuis Vision Government Solutions is performing the revaluation under at $289,000 contract.

If the General Assembly approves the request to delay the revaluation it is only for one year meaning it would need to be performed again by Dec. 31, 2022 for implementation in 2023.

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  • avamoma

    Postponing the re-evaluation for a year is a stop gap measure that can only be corrected with annual valuation updates. Re-evaluation has a toxic connotation because it pits neighbors against neighbors and strangles taxpayers that are fortunate/unfortunate to be subject to a growing economy.

    Property values change all the time – neighborhood by neighborhood, so when the change is not equal, people pay more and others less – for three years, until the next reassessment. No one wants to be on the ‘more’ side and outraged that there might be people on the ‘less’ side. Taxpayers are blinded by the erroneous charges because their property value had not changed, or worse, declined. They pay more and think that ‘it is what it is.’ But it does not have to be. RI General Law requires that tax is to be equally apportioned but that only happens in the year of the revaluation. Every other year the taxpayers are unequally taxed

    Jurisdictions around the country update property values annually doing what we should be doing …to apportion tax equally.

    Back in the day, reevaluations were required once each ten years. Those updates caused havoc in many areas.

    The General Assembly responded with a third party outside professional study that recommended the current plan -- 9-year complete reevaluation with three-year valuation updates. That happened nearly 50 years ago.

    Computers were mainframes. Revaluations were all contracted out and expensive because virtually none of the assessors could conduct the comprehensive program while maintaining the demand of the office, nor had the technical ability. It was a very different time.

    Times have changed. Our phones and tablets are now as powerful as the mainframes of old. The assessors today are reevaluation experts having worked for one or more contractors. Handling updates inhouse using reasonably available software is within the expertise of most.

    Updating values each year will recognize the rise or fall of values and allow the municipality to equally apportion tax according to RI law and the satisfaction of every taxpayer. Only then will everyone only pay their fair share but equal share.

    Friday, March 25 Report this