Updated tax impact of proposed bonds released

Updated tax impact of proposed bonds released

SMITHFIELD – The town has released updated information on the expected tax impact of the two proposed bonds totaling $49.5 million to be voted upon Nov. 6.

According to new supporting documents, the additional two bonds would increase the average taxpayer’s bill a total of $1,237.60 at the end of the five years for a home assessed at $280,000.

Each year, the tax bill for the average single-family home in Smithfield will increase by the following amounts:

• $285.60 in 2020

• $319.20 in 2021

• $288.40 in 2022

• $170.80 in 2023

• $173.60 in 2024

Town Manager Randy Rossi said increases will peak around the year 2023, and begin to fall back in the following years. Several bonds will expire following the potential new bond debt issuance, but the new debt, if approved by town voters, will expire in 2039 for the fire bond and 2042 for the elementary school reconfiguration.

Currently, the town’s bonded indebtedness is $21,225,000, from projects such as the police station renovation and expansion, the Land Trust open space, and road repair and reconstruction. With a legal threshold of $82,625,135, the additional bond debt will put the town $11 million shy of the limit.

“We’re not taking any budget increases with this plan,” Rossi said. “Not to say the budget will stay the same, but we do not plan on any other (tax) increases.”

Each year, the town projected an increase in spending, but it was equivalent to the increase in tax revenue and state aid.

Elementary school 
reconfiguration bond

The $45 million elementary reconfiguration bond is dependent on several factors. First, the Rhode Island Department of Education must grant at least 40 percent state housing aid reimbursement to the district for the town to issue the bond.

The town of Smithfield is eligible for up to 55 percent reimbursement, qualifying for additional incentives for energy conservation, school consolidation, early learning and STEM.

Should the bond pass, $45 million in principal will be borrowed, plus an additional $22,275,000 estimated interest. With a 40 percent reimbursement rate, or $25,969,500, the total cost of the bond for Smithfield taxpayers is estimated to be $41,305,500.

Those funds will not be available if the $250 million statewide school repair bond (Question 1) proposed by Gov. Gina Raimondo does not pass Nov. 6.

Supt. Judy Paolucci said that with the state reimbursements and continuously aging schools, now is the time to act on the bond and modernize the schools. She said costs in the future to fix the schools will be higher, and putting off the repairs will cost the town more in the long run.

“We don’t want to wait on this issue any longer,” Paolucci said. “The amount of extra money we would be entitled to due to incentives at this time is significant.”

The reconfiguration plans for the four elementary schools include:

• Closing William Winsor Elementary School and spending $22,314,420 between the years 2020 and 2021 to expand Anna McCabe Elementary School to accommodate students from Winsor;

• $14,508,638 between the years 2021 and 2022 to renovate and expand Raymond LaPerche Elementary School to accommodate pre-K programs and a gymnasium

• And $8,176,942 between years 2022 and 2023 to renovate and add an elevator to Old County Road School

Smithfield Fire Department Bond

Fire Chief Robert Seltzer said the need for a fire station in the northern end of town will drastically reduce response time around the North Central Airport, Limerock Road, and north of Bryant University.

The Fire Department Study Implementation Task Force recommends adding a station near Routes 7 and 116, which would increase the town’s ISO rating and possibly lower insurance rates for property owners.

The scope of the Fire Department plans are as follows:

• $4.5 million between the years of 2019 and 2020 to purchase property near the intersection of Routes 116 and 7 for the construction of the new fire station.

The town already owns the fire apparatus and equipment needed at the new station.

• An additional $2,227,500 in estimated bond interest raises the cost for the station to $6,727,500. Seltzer said the department’s capital funds will pay for renovations and repairs at the existing stations, and the combined efforts will put the department in good shape for many years to come.

“It’s a no-brainer for the town. This department will increase the level of service to be the same throughout the town,” Seltzer said.

For more information on the bond, visit www.smithfieldri.com/bond/, or call a School Committee member or the fire chief.


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