Mayor says property tax hike under consideration

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said Friday that a property tax increase is under consideration.

The mayor has been working to bring the city budget under control, with some success. But homeowners would certainly grumble at higher taxes, and so would real estate agents.

Property taxes in Providence have always been among the state's highest. Critics say another hike would make homes hard to sell.

"How much higher can we go? Look at the tax rates in Providence. Thirty-three dollars a thousand. We're very high. That's 3 percent a year," said Gabriel Francis, of Lenox Real Estate.

But Taveras said he cannot guarantee that rates won't go up. He's suing the actuarial firm that overestimated savings from pension reform, a mistake that will put pressure on his budget.

"We're doing everything we can to hold the line on taxes," Taveras said during a taping of "10 News Conference."

Property owners see the city getting ever higher revenues from increasing real estate values over the past decade.

For example, a multifamily home in the West End was assessed at $110,000 in 2002. Property taxes were $2,642 a year. In 2005, the same home was assessed at $242,000. Taxes increased $1,000 to $3,663 a year.

"That rate has still been getting increased. The property values went down, the assessments have come in a bit, but the rate is still giant," Francis said.

Property owners will learn if they're facing a tax hike when Taveras submits a budget next month.