Nina McPherson had the feeling she would be paying more taxes this year, but when she didn’t get a bill by last Friday and with the July 15 deadline for the first quarterly payment fast approaching, she took matters into her own hands.
On Monday she visited the latest home for the City Tax Collector, after discovering the office was no longer housed in the former Greene School on Draper Avenue. She hadn’t seen stories that most of the City Hall Annex offices would be located in the recently renovated Buttonwoods Center at the intersection of West Shore Road and Buttonwoods Avenue.
McPherson didn’t have to wait in any lines, and in only minutes she not only confirmed her fears but had also written out a $1,005 check for her first quarterly payment. She will be paying about $200 more a quarter.
According to Kyla Jones, Tax Collector, tax bills were mailed by the city’s vendor last week and should be delivered this week. She thought they would be arriving by Monday.
The bills will contain information on the Buttonwoods location and that payments can be made in person, by mail or by visiting citizenselfservice.com that accepts e-check and credit card payments.
Tax bills for the fiscal year are also available online at the city’s website.
As has been the practice, while the bills have a July 15 deadline for quarterly payments, the city has a grace period for payment until July 31, during which time no interest is charged,
Jones is happy with the new digs at Buttonwoods, noting that the move from Draper Avenue went smoothly and that after a weekend move was operational on Monday, June 17. She pointed out that the office has more counter space, which should make it easier for those wanting to pay in person. There is also a drop box at the entrance to the center for those seeking to avoid the line and preferring not to use the mail.
McPherson surely won’t be alone in learning that her taxes have increased by more than the 4 percent maximum allowable increase in the overall tax levy. The reason is the citywide revaluation of property as of Dec. 31, 2018, which was completed this past April.
A 13-year resident of Leigh Street, McPherson was surprised to find that her home had increased $70,000 in value. She questioned Vision Government Solutions, the contractor that performed the statistical revaluation, informing them that the house needed a new roof in addition to other renovations. Her valuation was dropped by $10,000, but she knew nonetheless that because of the overall growth in the valuation in similar properties, she would also get hit with higher taxes.
McPherson’s home was in the “sweet spot” of the hot real estate market of the past three years, where homes in the price range of $220,000 to $320,000 were in demand. Properties valued at $400,000 and higher were in less demand and therefore those valuations generally have not increased proportionately.
In his budget message, Mayor Joseph Solomon notes that as a result of the revaluation the budget results in a decrease in residential, commercial and personal property rates.
The residential rate dropped from $20,80 per $1,000 of valuation to $18.73; commercial went from $31.19 to $28.10 and personal property went from $41.59 to $37.46. As it is frozen by state law, the motor vehicle rate is unchanged at $34.60. Nonetheless, because of the phase-out of the motor vehicle tax, the motor vehicle exemption will increase and the valuation will drop for Warwick registrants.