Mainstreet Loses an Anchor and the Council Looks to Tax

So, Bank of America is abandoning the Main Street location in North Tiverton that it has inhabited for decades (most of the time as Fleet bank). According to somebody in a position to know, the branch remains profitable, but corporate executives have analyzed the prospects of Tiverton, Rhode Island, and determined that there will be insufficient small business activity to justify a presence in the town. Municipal officials may dream of a down-town-style business district, but when one of the two institutions that would anchor the community with access to capital and money management expresses its skepticism by packing up and leaving, residents should stop daydreaming and look at what’s happening in reality.
In reality, Town Solicitor Andy Teitz has put it on tonight’s agenda (PDF) for the town council to discuss the state law that places a cap on the amount that towns and cities can increase their taxes. At issue is this statutory language:

Any levy pursuant to subsection (d) of this section in excess of the percentage increase specified in subsection (a) of this section shall be approved by the affirmative vote of at least four-fifths (4/5) of the full membership of the governing body of the city or town or in the case of a city or town having a financial town meeting, the majority of the electors present and voting at the town financial meeting shall also approve the excess levy.

What the solicitor is expected to argue is that the town should entirely disregard the word “also” and accept it as town policy that a simple majority of the electorate in attendance at the financial town meeting should be able to authorize an increase above the tax cap. A lawsuit is already in process, in the town, to test that reading of the law, so one avenue that the solicitor and certain town councilors may be interested in pursuing is to change the above language, through the General Assembly, to remove the “ambiguity” of the law to conform with their reading.
Residents should decline to join in the imaginative exercise of pretending there’s any ambiguity at all beyond the grammatical error of using “or” rather than a semicolon in the statute. The town council ultimately approves the baseline budget that the residents consider at the town meeting, and elected officials should therefore have to submit themselves to accountability. Otherwise, voters should take it to be their duty to reconstruct the budget line-item by line-item, perhaps with constituencies developing complete and competing budgets.
Also at tonight’s town council meeting, by the way, will be a vote on the “pay as you throw” policy by which the town is seeking to more than double the cost of trash pickup for residents. Not coincidentally, I’m sure, its plan to charge households for the garbage bags that they use will not figure into the tax cap. Put it all together, and over the course of a few Monday night hours in January, Tiverton’s council of seven could lay the groundwork for a truly massive increase in taxes and fees in the midst of a deep economic recession in a town and state in long-term economic decline.

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Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
11 years ago

–“and determined that there will be insufficient small business activity to justify a presence in the town”
A preview of coming attractions across Rhode Island.
Democrat / public union / poverty industry (one in the same) controlled states are in economic free-fall: California, New York, Michigan, Rhode Island, Massachusetts (outside of 128).
It’s no coincidence. Collectivist policies make everyone poorer, albeit in the name of “equality.”
Welcome to the brave new Democrat world, comrades!

Carol Guimond
Carol Guimond
11 years ago

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
WE DEFINITELY HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING EXTREME CONCERN OF TAXES IN TIVERTON. OUR TAXES ARE AT A POINT WHERE I NO LONGER HAVE ANY BASIS TO ARGUE POINTS WITH CLIENTS WHO ARE LOOKING TO BUY IN TIVERTON. THE FIRST QUESTION AFTER ASKING THE PRICE OF A PROPERTY ARE “WHAT ARE THEY TAXES”…THEN THE LONG SILENCE, HANG UP, OR “NO WAY”. THEREFORE, VALUES HAVE BEEN DECLINING STILL AS A DIRECT RESULT OF FORECLOSURES AND SHORT SALES ALONG WITH THE DESIRE TO LOCATE HERE… WE HAVE NO FOOD MARKET,AND WE NOW HAVE A MAJOR BANK LEAVING THE ARE. I AM SEEING SIGNS OF NORTH TIVERTON BECOMING MORE ISOLATED WITH BUSINESS LOCATIONS AND ACTIVITY.

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

Justin, your town is getting screwed by a big corporation. It doesn’t need anyone making excuses for it.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

“THE FIRST QUESTION AFTER ASKING THE PRICE OF A PROPERTY ARE “WHAT ARE THE TAXES”…THEN THE LONG SILENCE, HANG UP, OR “NO WAY”.”
C’mon. Relative to the rest of RI, Tiverton isn’t an outlier. Check out the state rates here: Tiverton isn’t even in the top 5. Not even top 10. Not even top 15. It’s #20. Technically, not even in the top half.
http://www.riliving.com/AboutRhodeIsland/TaxRates/Index.aspx
Scituate  $24.40
Providence  $24.21
East Side of Prov $23.70
Woonsocket  $22.36
North Providence $19.65
Johnston  $19.49
Cranston  $19.11
West Greenwich  $18.35
Glocester  $17.98
Pawtucket  $17.78
Lincoln  $17.54
Foster  $17.12
West Warwick  $16.82
East Greenwich  $16.64
Barrington  $16.10
Coventry  $15.46
East Providence $15.43
Richmond  $14.94
Hopkinton  $14.79
Tiverton  $14.35
Anyone who says no to a house in Tiverton because of the taxes has no business even looking to buy in RI.

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Forex Broker Comparison
9 years ago

“The king was in such a rage, that before he could speak he had time “You won’t get me to climb any more trees after your balls, and my cat was shaken, and the mountain crashed down in sudden ruin.

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