2005-09-01 / Front Page

New island tax roll has been issued by town

By Dotti Farrington

Narragansett Electric has fallen from its position as Jamestown’s top taxpayer at $77,568 in 2004, to $54,084 due this year, according to the new tax roll issued last month.

The power company has $5.51 million in taxable property, mostly business inventory, plus a few small commercial lots.

That puts Norton Reamer, trustee for Beavertail residential property, assessed at $6,039,080, as top taxpayer at $54,915 this year. That listing was second place last year when it had a tax bill of $69,959.55. The Reamer holdings are for 84.5 acres at a little more than $4 million and the 1996 house at nearly $2 million for 5,890 square feet of main living space, with 1,183 finished square feet in a 2,766-square foot basement.

The Reamer land is the most expensive single-owner holding, but the house is not the most expensive on the island. It is in a neighborhood of several homes almost as expensive, plus two houses over $2 million each, on smaller parcels valued at a little more than $1 million per lot.

There also are three other $2 million homes, along East Shore and a fourth on Bayview Drive, each nestled on a $1 million lot, for valuations totaling between $3 million and $4 million per property owner.

The Watson Farm again is the single, highest valued property at $6,297,330 but is tax exempt as a Historic New England property. No other single residential property comes within a million dollars of the top three taxpayers.

The figures for taxes last year represent 16-month levies, but the new figures are for 12-month tax bills.

The actual largest property owner again is the town itself, with 168 listings, including the schools and the library, for a total of nearly $48 million, the same as last year when the townwide revaluation was posted at a gross of $1.63 billion. This year’s gross is $1.67 billion for the island’s 9.7 square miles, or 6,208 acres, in the accounts of nearly 4,000 human or organizational entities.

Real estate summaries

The following are the breakdowns of properties with number of listings of selected codes last year in parentheses:

Code 1— one family residential, 2,444 (2,416) listings: $598 million in land and $724 million in structures for a total of $1.32 billion.

Code 2 — two family residential, 56 (52) listings: $16.2 million in land and $20.8 million in buildings for a total of $37 million.

Code 3 — apartments, four listings: $.8 million in land and $2 million in buildings for a total of $2.8 million.

Code 4 — combination residential, 38 listings: $7.4 million in land and $10.7 million in buildings for a total of $16.8 million.

Code 6 — commercial, 37 listings: $7.6 million in land and $9.2 million in buildings for a total of $16.8 million.

Code 10 — utility, five listings: $.6 million in land and $.39 million in buildings for a total of $.97 million.

Code 11— seasonal/beach cottages, 116 (125) listings, $35.7 million in land and $20.2 million in buildings for a total of $55.9 million.

Code 12 — other improved land, 20 listings: $3.66 million in land and $.22 million in buildings for a total of $3.88 million.

Code 13 — residential vacant, 545 (574) listings: $71.5 million.

Code 14 — commercial/industrial, vacant, 10 (11) listings: $1.83 million.

Code 15 — vacant, other, six listings: $1.27 million.

Code 23 — residential condominiums, 83 (71) listings: $11.1 million in land and $24.5 million in buildings for total of $35.6 million.

Code 24 — commercial condominiums, 26 (24) listings: $2.76 million in land and $5.8 million in buildings for a total of $8.56 million.

Code 33 — farms, open space, forest, 68 listings including 17 with buildings: $14 million in land and $9.7 million in buildings for a total of $23.7 million (does not include the $6.34 million Watson Farm in the exempt Code 73 category).

Code 70 — cemeteries, five listings: $.73 million in land and $5,890 in structures.

Code 71 — charities, seven listings, all Audubon Club, $6.99 million (no buildings).

Code 72 — churches and parsonages, seven listings: $1 million in land and $4.4 million in buildings for a total of $5.4 million.

Code 73 — charter/organizations, 35 listings, including 28 for Conanicut Island Land Trust, and single ones for the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, Pemberton Apartments and the Grange Hall: $12.8 million in land and $2.43 million in buildings for a total of $15.23 million

Code 74 — federal, three listings: total $4.14 million.

Code 76 — library (town), one listing: $204,800 land and $1.53 million, building.

Code 78 — municipal (town), 163 (147) listings including 20 with structures: $26.6 million in land and $6.5 million in buildings for a total of $33.1 million.

Code 79 — schools: Lawns and Melrose Schools, $768,600 in land and $12,273,930 in buildings, and Roger Williams College, $4,000 in land at Prospect Avenue.

Code 80 — state, 60 listings including eight with buildings: $21.4 million in land and $1.86 million in buildings for a total of $23.3 million.

Narragansett Electric

The second largest taxpayer owns very little land, but tens of thousands of bits and pieces of hardware; it is the Narragansett Electric Company with its inventory of equipment.

The inventory includes structural metal, wood poles up to 60 feet long, transformers, conductors, lighting fixtures, bushings, switches, fuses, holders, circuit breakers, meters, rectifiers, accessories, capacitors, devices, lightning and surge arresters, drain pits, voltage regulators, heat exchangers, storage batteries, alarm and control systems, pole towers, anchors, crossarms and stocks, brackets, cluster mounts, cables, motor operating mechanisms, contacts, risers, duct banks, manholes, conduit, terminators, grounds, junction boxes, street lighting and signal system, and a miscellaneous category of non-descript or generic “devices.”

Narragansett Electric had wanted its 2003 taxable total of $7,115,080 cut nearly in half. Tax Assessor Kenneth Gray last year was willing to depreciate equipment by 12 percent, but stood firm about the real property values. The utility volunteered to phase in the depreciation over several years, leading to this year’s lowered total and anticipated decreases also in coming years. It accepted Gray’s ruling about its lots.

Some property owners have several parcels that collectively total more than $1 million and other individuals, or trusts or companies receive or share tax bills that are in the names of more than one person or business entity, so that there could be someone on the island paying more than the Reamer trust in taxes, but technically no one has a single bill for more.

Motor vehicles

The motor vehicle assessment total increased from $49.8 million to $54.76 million for more than 5,000 vehicles. The current highest assessed single vehicle is a $175,762 camper garaged at West Reach and taxed at $2,407, where the owner also has three cars with no taxable value.

The highest vehicle tax bill is $9,467 to DCFS Trust of Michigan for 23 Mercedes Benz cars leased to town residents, with the highest single MB assessed at $81,625. BMW of New Jersey had the account with the most leased vehicles: 27, taxed for a total of $7,046. There is one resident, who owns 28 cars: seven assessed for a total of $559 and 21 on which no taxes are owed.

Out-of-state car leasing companies accounted for most motor vehicle bills over $2,000. The only local bill in that category was Island Rubbish Service, paying $2,903 for eight vehicles; it also owns three valued under $5,000. Vehicles worth less than $5,000 are not taxed. The tax roll this year does not include listings of all cars as had been done in the past. Accounts owing for no cars are not included.

Small accounts also were interesting: one resident has nine cars, owing tax of $1.41 for only one of them. There are two residents who own 12 vehicles each: one pays $18.39 for one; the other pays $20.59 for one. There are two other residents with seven vehicles each, owing taxes under $8 for one car each.

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