Cumberland tax bills on the way

Cumberland tax bills on the way

CUMBERLAND - Tax bills are going out next week, bringing with them, in some cases, a bit of "sticker shock," as the finance director is calling it.

But not for everyone.

"There will be sizable increases for some and sizable decreases for others," said Finance Director Brian Silvia.

In the latest round of new property valuations, residents whose values increased or declined only in the 1 percent to 4 percent range, are getting hit with the highest tax bills.

On the other hand, if the value of your property decreased 6 percent or more, you're getting a break and will likely see less than a $100 increase.

Property down 8 percent or more? Your bill is coming in at less than last year's.

And if you're in a neighborhood where values are down 15 percent, as is the average condominium, the savings will be enough to buy a very nice night in Providence.

Five of the seven Town Council members gathered last Thursday to set a 1.5 percent levy increase - enough to raise the $61 million to $62.5 million taxpayers will contribute toward spending that began on July 1, 2013, and runs through June 30, 2014. They also adopted the resulting tax rate of $17.08 per thousand dollars of assessed property, an 8 percent increase before adjusting for the new assessments.

Cumberland's unsynchronized system sees after-the-fact tax bills, with the first quarterly payment due on May 31. Those who pay the full amount by then will save 2 percent on the total.

Overall, Cumberland residential values are down 6 percent compared to three years ago, while condominium owners saw values assessed at an average of 15 percent less. Values on commercial spaces are down about 4 percent, and on vacant land about 3 percent.

As a result, said officials, roughly one-third of the town is seeing a tax increase, one-third staying about the same, and one-third getting a decrease.

The total worth of property in Cumberland declined about $218 million from $3.27 billion to $3.05 billion.

And that's forced a higher tax rate to generate the same funds.

Tax bills going out at the end of next week support spending approved unanimously by the Town Council and including $1.5 million in new school funding agreed to last June. The current discussion over support for the Basic Education Plan has to do with the new budget that will be debated in May and early June, but not billed for until a year from now.

With two of the council's three outspoken Republicans absent for this meeting that had a late scheduling change, Scott Schmitt and Art Lambi, it was Mayor Daniel McKee and Finance Director Silvia who had the most to say about the levy.

McKee, whose own house decreased in value less than 3 percent, decried the every-three-years reval process as costly for the town and "arbitrary" in its findings.

He complained about the overall "upheaval" of putting new values on properties every three years.

"The cycle should be increased to every six or seven years and would save taxpayers in the state hundreds of thousands of dollars each year," he said.

Silvia said the new $17.08 tax rate "has a lot of sticker shock when you see it, but it brings the town whole again" and funds the budget that was agreed upon last June.

McKee used a chart to illustrate how the revaluation process will affect residents.

A $200,000 home under the current rate of $15.78 paid $3,156.

If there had been no revaluation, the new bill under the projected rate of $16.02 would have been $3,201, up $48.

But under the new rate of $17.08, the bill for that $200,000 house, if the value is down 1 percent to $198,000, is up $226. If the value is down 4 percent to $192,000, the bill is up $123.36, and if it's down 6 percent in value to $188,000, the bill is up $55.04.

If the value dropped 10 percent, to $180,000, the bill is $3,074, which is $81,60 less than last year's bill. A 15 percent drop, to $170,000 brings a tax bill savings of $252.

Check out house values around town at the website. Enter just the street name without road, street, avenue, etc. New assessments are at the top of the page and old assessments at the bottom.


Discussed does not even begin to express how I feel.

I am so disgusted with this joke of a town and state!

It's absolutely unbelievable The main reason the colonies started rebelling against 'mother England' was the taxation issue. The colonies debated England's legal power to tax them and, furthermore, did not wish to be taxed without representation. This was one of the main causes of the Revolutionary War and now we are basically paying about 45% - 50% of our hard earned money for taxes and no one even blinks an eye. Amazing.