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Reval notices reflect drop in home values

Mayor Scott Avedisian expects to be getting some calls next week from some irate property owners.

But it’s not what you would expect after a citywide revaluation.

Usually, property owners are upset their property is valued at more than they think it should be, because they pay taxes on that higher value.

But with the recession and the tailspin of property values, the tax assessor, and the mayor, have gotten calls from people who feel their property has been undervalued. With that loss in value, they have found it difficult to get home equity loans.

“There have been those who vehemently argued that they [values] were too low,” Avedisian said.

It looks like that will happen again with the statistical revaluation as of Dec. 31, 2012.

City Tax Collector and Assessor Ken Mallette said yesterday that residential property values have slipped another 9 to 10 percent since the last revaluation three years ago.

Residential property owners will learn just how much the values have changed in the next several days. Mallette said notices to 28,000 property owners will be in the mail Friday. The one-page letter outlines how property owners can review their new assessment with a representative of Vision Government Solutions, the company that was retained to conduct the revaluation.

For a first time for Warwick property owners, hearings can be scheduled online in addition to calling Vision at 888-844-4300. Those hearings will commence April 25 and run through May 10. Mallette said most of the hearings, which will be held in the Buttonwoods Community Center, are scheduled between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., but he is also making some evening and Saturday appointments available.

Unlike a full revaluation, when appraisers visit each property, a statistical revaluation is based on property sales and building permits over the past two years. Values of those properties are then used to establish values within a neighborhood for similar properties.

Mallette said that while Warwick is seeing an increase in the number of residential properties sold, over the past two years, the housing values continued to be dragged down by foreclosures and short sales. In the last revaluation, residential properties lost about 20 percent compared to the last full revaluation of 2006.

Letters will contain the old and the new assessment, as well as a “PID” or property ID number. The PID is required to schedule a hearing.

Avedisian made the point that the old assessment is important as a comparison that property owners should pay attention to. If property owners question the value, he suggested they first go to the city’s website that connects to the assessor’s database or www.vgsi.com to review their listing. Mistakes have been found, he said, citing how one property owner was taxed on a deck that didn’t exist. As the appeal deadline for the old valuation closed as of Oct. 31, 2012, a property owner can’t seek a tax refund, however, revisions can be made going forward.

Mallette does not anticipate major fluctuations, up or down, in commercial property values. He said about 6,000 commercial property valuation notices should be in the mail within the week. Unlike residential property values based on comparative sales, commercial values are established by a combination of income generated, cost to build the property and comparative properties. Commercial property owners were sent income schedules in December and Mallette said he was still getting completed forms as of this week.

Residential properties make up the bulk of the city’s $10 billion in taxable property. The residential tax accounts for 74 percent of tax revenues.

The city, as host to the state airport, Community College of Rhode Island, Kent Hospital, numerous churches and other non-profits, carries a large inventory of tax-exempt property. A commission headed by Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson has been reviewing those exemptions with the intent, explained Mallette, of seeing where they might give back to the city. Avedisian cited Kent Hospital and how it provides uncompensated care for individuals lacking insurance or unable to pay. Mallette said there might be other forms of service these tax-exempt organizations can do to help the city’s economy, including simply a commitment to give Warwick residents the first opportunity when filling jobs.

When contesting property values, Mallette advised that people look at values in their neighborhood and try to make comparisons to their property. If they have a current appraisal, they should bring it with them to the hearing.

The mayor cautioned people not to apply the current tax rate to their new valuation, as that will be computed on the basis of the budget yet to be approved by the mayor and council and the newly established tax roll as determined by the revaluation.

Should property owners not be satisfied following a review of values, they can appeal to the board of assessment review. Three years ago, about 1,700 property owners requested hearings and 700 appealed to the board. Those numbers are dramatically down from prior revaluations.

“Values are more stabilized,” Mallette said referring to the schedule of revaluations every three years, “and people are learning the appeal process.”

Mallette could not think of any particular neighborhood that experienced a dramatic swing in values either way with this revaluation.

16 comments on this item

The Warwick City Council needs to look at how much money is wasted in Warwick firefighters overtime before they set the tax rate. This is a disgrace. Taxpayers can't pay anymore. Then a raise in sewer usage fees. This is to much. You would not mind if we had great schools , and more police. None of this is happening. It's a great thing to give Veteran's a break ,but what about the average working person.We will lose more residents. Union people don't have to worry, they have a good salary. Also, there are no community police during the daylight hours , when homes are being broken into. My sister was hit twice in the Governor Francis area.They pay a high tax rate because there homes are valued high.

Why don't they have on call firefighters or subs to save money. Why always milk the taxpayer? People can't afford anymore. They appoint people to the sewer authority that can't give answers, I would like to know what her salary is. Why wasn't anyone looking at the fire dept.budget? I could go on an on, but will remember this on election day

Patty do you have any idea why the overtime was high?

No, I do not. but I do know what I heard at our Ward meeting, A man stood up and said it was $700,000. If you had this in the private sector . Someone would have to answer to this.

No, I do not. but I do know what I heard at our Ward meeting, A man stood up and said it was $700,000. If you had this in the private sector . Someone would have to answer to this.

First of all the city was short 30 people last year. The city knows about this and decided its cheaper sometimes to pay overtime rather than hire new employees. Shut down an engine some say. Well most peopl are all or that idea till they tell them it's the engine in their district they are going to shut down, the city do Warwick already operates well below the minimum required staffing levels. So why the overtime. You need people to respond to the 16000 calls a year. Your not gonna get callman or "subs" to come in for those call. They can't even get them in communities that have 1300 calls a year. The department hired 32 people. Overtime is mostly gone. In the private sector you can run a company into the ground and still get a 20 million dollar severance pay. You can't compare the two patty. Before you get all worked come see what we do.

And because of a grant the firefighters themselves wrote for you got two years of free work and benefits for 20 of these firefighters. But then again the 3 million that was acquired for this grant in their own time is "milking the taxpayers"... Yes we are all evil in your eyes patty..

I am not saying you are evil and I don't want to get into a match with you.

All I say is, when you make a decision like this. Think about the average taxpayer.

We are your avearage taxpayers also. What decision are you talking about?

Mine dropped 10%. They'll probably just up the tax rate by 10%. The welfare pensions and lifetime healthcare must be paid otherwise a bunch of 50+ yr olds might have to start working again....can't have that can we.

Crossing guards getting pensions cracks me up the most.


Well said , you just have to remember this in the next election. No one cares about the non union residents. We have had to make cuts, But yet they want to still raise taxes and sewer usage fees. Shame!

Yep, my house lost another $22,000 in value since the 2009 reval. Treading water now between current value and what the mortgage principal is. Zip for equity, and yet I realize I'm in better shape than a lot of people...

Must be those dam unions!!!

Patty 319....you are correct fire overtime is out of control....keep in mind the grant SteveD mentions is paid for by the federal government so your grandchildren can pay for it....the structural problems in the fire dept are not being addressed.

Patty keep in mind SteveD is a fireman who rants all the time on this blog but never has the guts to get up at city hall and makes his points.

Patty....it is the unions that are driving Warwick into bankruptcy.....have SteveD. list the benefits firemen receive....better take valium before you read them.

Ok reality, next time we won't get the grant and some other town can get it. The money was going no matter what, out mine as well try to help our city out. Next time ill remember how much you cared about the savings and say screw it. Fine with me. Reality what's your occupation? Still won't answer.

And while I'm at it reality I saw your rant about Vella Wilkenson. "I wish I could have been there". Was your quote. Another citizen that is "concerned" but won't get off his lazy a$$ to make a meeting. Occupation?????

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