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Division of Municipal Finance

Welcome to the website for the Division of Municipal Finance, formerly known as the Office of Municipal Affairs.

Mission:

To provide assistance and guidance to municipalities in complying with state law, to encourage cooperation between municipalities and the state, to calculate, evaluate, and distribute state aid and to maintain a data center of information of use to municipalities.

Objectives:

  • To maintain and compute financial and equalized property value information for the benefit of municipalities and public policy decision-makers.
  • To encourage and assure compliance with state laws and policies relating to municipalities especially in the areas of public disclosure, tax levies, and financial reporting.
  • To encourage cooperation between municipalities and the state by distributing information and by providing technical assistance to municipalities.
  • To give guidance to public policy decision-makers on the equitable distribution of state aid to municipalities.

Activities:

This Division acts as the state’s primary intermediary with municipalities through the following units:

Local Government Assistance

  • Reviews more than 2,700 pieces of legislation and prepares a "Municipal Memo" summarizing all local interest legislation. The "Municipal Memo" is available on our website.
  • Prepares fiscal notes at the request of the Administration or legislature.
  • Publishes and distributes over 3,000 Directory of City-Town Officials (the Blue Book). The directory is updated in its entirety each year.
  • Conducts an annual municipal salary survey of selected municipal positions which is available on our website.
  • Publishes publication entitled "Local Government Finances in Rhode Island" which is also available on our website.
  • Annually updates the "Handbook for Rhode Island City and Town Clerks" and is provided on our website.
  • Periodically updates the "Municipal Charters in Rhode Island" publication to reflect changes in home rule or legislative charters.

State Aid and Property Tax Compliance

  • Calculates state aid for General Revenue Sharing, Distressed Community Aid and Payment in Lieu of Taxes.
  • Administers compliance for all 39 cities and towns with the Property Tax and Fiscal Disclosure Act as it relates to the levy cap and public advertising of the annual municipal budget and tax hearings.
  • Maintains a database of municipal tax rates, and approved budget summaries.
  • Monitors and maintains compliance of municipalities with state statutory requirements relating to submission of audited financial statements.

Tax Equalization

  • Completes a statistical appraisal each year for each municipality comparing assessed value with market value thereby computing estimates of full market value in each community and the effective tax rate.
  • Provides this information to the Department of Education and others for purposes of computing state aid and the relative equity of the tax levy in each municipality.
  • Has initiated compliance and assistance to municipalities in undertaking periodic statistical updates in assessed valuations in accordance with legislation passed in 1998.
  • Calculates state aid for the Public Service Corporation and Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes.

Publication and Information

  • Provides a central depository of financial, personnel, legal, real estate, and property tax information relating to municipalities.
  • Publishes a series of documents relating to municipal activities.
  • Maintains a web site of updated information accessible to municipalities as well as researchers, developers, banks, legislators, and public interest groups.