With the May 23 Little Compton Financial Town Meeting (FTM) soon approaching, there are some real concerns for the taxpayers of Little Compton. A Special Public Hearing is scheduled just before the 7pm FTM to outline the FY20017 budget shortfalls, asking the taxpayers to authorize not more than a $310,000 transfer of funds to cover expenses through June 30, 2017.
A letter and the FY2018 budget was mailed to all taxpayers this week. In part, the letter states:
“At the beginning of our Budget review process, the Budget Committee worked with the Town Administrator to review tax collections, identifying over $500,000 in delinquent tax collections. Further investigation into these delinquencies has identified over $160,000 in waivers for penalties and interest that have been extended to delinquent accounts by the Tax Collector and Treasurer’s office, possibly in violation of RI General Law 44-5-8-1. In excess of $100,000 in delinquent taxes may be deemed uncollectable. In a budget season where the Town must fund operational deficits by drawing from the Cell Tower Fund, the Reserve Fund, and the unreserved balance of the Town General Fund, it is absolutely necessary for the Town to maximize tax collections; arbitrary waivers of penalties and interest coupled with uncollectable taxes that are caused by a lack of tax collection procedures cannot be tolerated. Fortunately, the Town Administrator has begun to work closely with the Tax Collector and Treasurer’s office to standardize tax collection efforts and optimize tax revenue for the Town”.
There are a lot of very upset taxpayers in Little Compton, and no doubt this letter from the Budget Committee and proposed FY2018 budget increase will escalate taxpayer concern, especially for an unbalanced FY2017 budget, in large part due to thousands in revenue that has not been collected for years, and penalty waives arbitrarily chosen by the Tax Collector for some taxpayers, but not others.