Peculiar News from Lincoln

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[Lincoln] Town Administrator T. Joseph Almond is recommending a $70.1-million budget for the next fiscal year that would reduce the tax levy and scale back the School Committee’s budget request.
The bottom line for the municipal and school budgets would increase by $123,015 in the fiscal year that starts July 1, but Almond said it would decrease the amount raised through local taxes by $531,616. Finance Director John F. Ward said that’s about a 1-percent levy decrease, but that the budget could still be affected by proposed state aid cuts.

And this?

Frank Champi, a partner at Providence-based Lefkowitz, Garfinkel, Champi & DeRienzo, P.C., the firm that did the audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, said the town’s operating budget had a $538,828 surplus, and the school budget, a $919,258 surplus. He said the audit put the town among the least financially stressed communities in Rhode Island.

Has Lincoln been doing something right, or has it simply been over-taxing its residents and businesses? I see that it’s tax rate is relatively high, and without corresponding to an obviously low median house price, so it looks like an even larger cut would be just. (And that’s before taking into account Lincoln’s unique circumstance of having gambling revenue from Twin River.

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Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

Justin,
You’re forcing me to tip my hand on a set of posts that are “coming soon”! As of the year 2007, Lincoln had…

  1. One of the lowest residential property tax levies as a function of total community income, of any Rhode Island community of 20,000 or more (with the appropriate adjustments made for “apartment” and “combined” classes of property), and
  2. A relatively high amount of commercial/industrial property tax revenue.

Lincoln doesn’t appear to have achieved its relatively low residential levy by taxing the bizjeezus out of commercial properties, which is a combination that has led to relatively low residential levies, coupled with small amounts of commercial revenue in a number of other RI communities (though the commercial rate in the link in your post does appear to be higher than the commercial rates in a number of other RI communities).
Lincoln does get some money directly from Twin River which helps its budget, but it appears, at first glance, that this has not led the town to take an attitude of “great, now we can blow through spending like water, since we’re tied to a magic source of money which we can always go back to for more”, that other organs of government in RI in a position to receive gambling money might have been (or actually have been) inclined to take.

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

If that’s THE Frank Champi, former Harvard QB…
I’d highly recommend the “Harvard Ties Yale 29-29” DVD to anyone – not just the story of a legendary football game, but about the intersection of class, Ivy League, the sexual revolution and Vietnam in 1968. It was produced by Dubya’s nephew, and the characters you’ll encounter include Dubya’s roommate, Tommy Lee Jones (you’ve heard of his roommate – great story about him and a touchtone phone), Meryl Streep and the guy who inspired Doonesbury’s B.D.
The quarterbacks in that game, Champi and Brian Dowling, both look more like math teachers than jocks (and some of these guys, 40 years later, look like they could still go out and hit people).

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