Block Island Times

Town Council examines property tax structure

New Shoreham is looking into the possibility of creating a new tax structure, based on classifications of different land use types. The goal of creating this tax structure, per the accompanying documents on the town’s website, is to “Modernize New Shoreham’s property tax system to deliver fair and equitable distribution of the relative costs of providing services to residents and visitors and to ensure a sustainable and thriving year-round community.” The new classification system could have tiered local taxes for different classifications of property.Rhode Island statutes allow four classes of property and relative tax rates between those four classes. The classes currently allowed are residential real estate, commercial real estate, ratable tangible personal property, and motor vehicles and trailers. The town currently charges the same tax rate for real estate, however, no matter what the real estate is used for. Furthermore, the only tax relief the town is currently allowed to offer is a homestead exemption.
Finance Director Amy Land explained that a homestead exemption had to do with usage of a residence, with an owner occupying the property as a primary residence. The benefit was usually an exemption from the assessment and was intended to make it

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