RICHMOND – The Richmond Town Council continues to vie for the reopening of the Chariho Act for discussion and possible amendment, and plans to pursue potential legal avenues to do so. The council discussed the recent report of Charlestown’s Chariho Funding ad hoc Subcommittee at the council meeting Tuesday, which alleges that Richmond requested a single taxing district be formed for Chariho.
“The statement that we requested a single taxing district is false,” said Council Vice President Henry R. Oppenheimer. “That is not what [Council President] Joe [Reddish] suggested.”
Councilors agreed that this statement is untrue, and their suggestion was merely to send two tax bills to residents, one with the tax payment due to the town and the other bill with the payment due to the Chariho school district.
However, the Richmond Town Council does want to reopen the Chariho Act for review and potential revision of several items. The council wishes to discuss amending the act so it is more fair to all three towns, as well as a possible reconstruction of the Chariho School Committee to include the same number of members for each town, given that the three towns are now roughly equal in population.
Oppenheimer pointed out that in the report the subcommittee presented figures on the current student enrollment-based system. Under that system, Charlestown will pay about $12.92 million for the school district in fiscal year 2013-2014, Richmond will pay approximately $12.96 million and Hopkinton will pay about $13 million, after state aid.
The subcommittee then calculated each town’s payment if Chariho was billed as a single taxing district.
The report includes equalized weighted assessed valuation (EWAV) of the three towns’ property as of 2007. According to that data, the EWAV for Charlestown is $2.8 billion, nearly 55 percent of the assessed value of the three towns combined. Richmond’s EWAV is $1.13 billion and Hopkinton’s is $1.14 billion, 22 percent and 23 percent, respectively.
The Charlestown Chariho Funding Subcommittee then reports that based on the EWAV, Charlestown’s share of the Chariho budget would increase to $26.5 million, with Richmond and Hopkinton paying slightly more than $6 million each.
Again, Richmond town councilors said they were not advocating for a uniform taxing district, but based on the EWAV figures presented, Oppenheimer calculated the tax rates per $1,000 of assessed value.
Oppenheimer said the rate for Charlestown would be about $4.67 per $1,000 of equalized assessed value, while the rates for Richmond and Hopkinton would be more than $11 per $1,000 of assessed value in each town.
In line 14 of the subcommittee’s report, they include figures of the total budget when state aid is pooled and subtracted from the budget before it is divided. According to those figures, Charlestown would pay $21.3 million to Chariho and Richmond and Hopkinton would pay $8.7 million and $8.8 million, respectively.
Oppenheimer said the calculations per $1,000 of assessed value based on those figures would be about $7.72 for Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton.
“Charlestown says this is ‘unfair and unsustainable,’” Oppenheimer said, using language the subcommittee used in their report when referring to the potential of an equalized taxing district. “But $11.36 or $11.46 for Hopkinton or Richmond is acceptable.”
For the rest of this story and more local news pick up the July 11 issue of the Chariho Times.