Update on September 27, 2021 Town Council Meeting
The sole issue on the 9/27 Town Council agenda was whether we should take possible action on a homestead exemption and/or a tax classification. The reason for the discussion is that the value of residential real estate is projected to increase, and in 2021 North Kingstown is conducting a tax re-evaluation. This means that in 2022, North Kingstown taxpayers could see a heavy increase in the amount of property taxes they pay, unless the Town Council takes action.
The Town Solicitor, Matt Callaghan, explained that we had three options:
adopt a tax classification plan
adopt a tax classification plan and a homestead exemption
adopt only a homestead exemption, in which case we would need to attain enabling legislation from the state legislature.
To do item 3, we need to ask our state representatives to prepare the legislation for the January 2022 legislative session in order to have a new law passed before the summer 2022 tax assessment.
The Council members all favored a homestead exemption, which means a tax break for all residential properties in which the owner lives in the property for six months and a day. We discussed various means by which this can be proven, e.g. with a voter registration card or driver's license showing a North Kingstown address. The purpose is to give our year-round residents a break in taxes.
We also discussed the current tax classification. North Kingstown gives a tax exemption to the blind, senior income, disabled, Gold Star families, low income, veterans, disabled veterans, and a flat elderly rate. We did not vote on these individual exemptions.
In a 4-1 vote (Brimer dissenting), we voted to explore option 2, to adopt a tax classification and a homestead exemption. The Town Manager and Finance Director will have this issue on a future agenda once they have prepared a report on how these items will impact the budget and citizens. In essence, the council voted upon a direction, and in the future, we will further discuss the specifics of the path we will take.