Explanation of your sewer assessment

Why have I received a sewer assessment?

The Warwick Sewer Authority is required by law to assess all properties that abut on a common sewer.

What do these assessment fees pay for?

Sewer assessments cover the cost of constructing the common sewer, pumping stations, interceptors and the wastewater treatment facility. Revenues received from the assessments will be used to repay the bonds issued by the City of Warwick to pay the costs of these projects.

How long do I have to pay this assessment?

Your sewer assessment may be paid over a twenty (20) year period. You will receive a bill each year which will offer you the 20 year payment plan or the opportunity to pay the assessment in its entirety. Annual bills of more than $100.00 may be paid in quarterly installments.

I pay sewer usage fees, what’s the difference?

Those of you who are already connected to the sewer system also pay a sewer usage bill. Sewer usage revenues pay for the costs of operating and maintaining the sewer system and the wastewater treatment facility.

I own a corner lot. How is my property assessed?

If your property has frontage on two streets and sewers have been installed in both streets, then the assessment will be calculated based on the longest side.

The sewer line was only installed in front of part of my property. Why am I being charged for full frontage?

Properties that have sewer service available are assessed based on the lot frontage, regardless of the length of sewer installed in the front of the property. In some instances, properties receive sewer service through an easement across someone else’s property. In those cases, the assessments are still calculated by the property’s frontage.

I own two lots; my house is located on one and the other is my yard. How will the vacant lot be assessed?

If sewer lines were installed in the street in front of the vacant lot, it will be assessed like any other lot in the city. For owners whose property is comprised of two separate lots, each lot will be assessed separately.

I own a large piece of property and my assessment does not seem to coincide with my frontage. Why is my assessment so high?

For parcels of land greater than one acre in size, sewer assessments are calculated based on an acreage formula. This method of assessment reflects the future development potential of larger parcels of land.  However, if the property is owned by a private non-profit organization, or utilized as a single family residence or a residential family compound, the owner may apply for a partial deferment from the WSA.

My only frontage is a 15 foot driveway and my assessment is being calculated on more than 15 feet. Why?

Properties with frontage of less than forty (40) feet are assessed at a minimum rate of 82 cents ($.82) per square foot of land area. Sometimes the resulting assessment is out of proportion with those of the surrounding neighborhood. In those cases, property owners may be eligible for an abatement through the appeal process.

My front and back yards each have frontage on different streets. How is my property assessed?

Through lots, where your property extends from one street to another, are assessed based on the longest side plus one-half of the opposite side. In cases where the lot cannot be subdivided to create a second buildable parcel, the property owner may be eligible for an abatement of the footage of the lesser side.

I am living on a fixed income and cannot afford to pay the annual installment. How can I get help?

The City’s Tax Assessor qualifies property owners for circuit breaker tax credits. Residents who qualify for the circuit breaker also qualify for deferments on their sewer assessments. Questions regarding the City’s circuit breaker program should be directed to the Tax Assessor’s office at 738-2000, ext. 6016.

If you qualify for the City’s Circuit Breaker Program and would like to apply for a deferment of your sewer assessment, fill out the attached form FOUND HERE and mail the completed form to:
WARWICK SEWER AUTHORITY
125 Arthur W. Devine Boulevard
Warwick, RI 02886

What happens if I sell my house?

Sewer assessments are treated in a similar manner as taxes during a property closing. As long as the current year’s installment has been paid there is a clear title. The new property owner can assume any balance left on the assessment and continue to pay the annual installments over the balance of the twenty year period.

Who is responsible for payment of sewer assessments?

If the common sewer in front of your house was constructed using Warwick Sewer Authority funds, then you are responsible for full payment of your sewer assessment. If the common sewer in front of your property was constructed using private funds, such as from a private developer or other private source, then your sewer assessment will be abated as discussed below.

How are private common sewer assessments calculated?

By action of the Warwick Sewer Authority, in cases where the common sewer was installed using private funds, your assessment has been abated by 47%. The rationale for this 47% abatement is that the WSA has determined that 47% of the total cost of constructing the City’s sewer system is attributable to the cost of construction of the common sewers, and the remaining 53% to the cost of construction of pumping stations, interceptors and the City’s wastewater treatment facility. Accordingly, where private funds were used to construct the common sewer and public funds were not expended, it is fair to abate such assessments by 47%.

Do I have the right to appeal this assessment?

You have 60 days from the date of the assessment notice to file an appeal to the Sewer Board of Review. In order to appeal, you must notify the Sewer Board of Review in writing of the reasons for your appeal and enclose a copy of the notice. Your appeal should be addressed to:

SEWER BOARD OF REVIEW
CITY OF WARWICK FINANCE DEPARTMENT
3275 POST ROAD
WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND 02886

The Warwick Sewer Authority also has the power to act on sewer assessments if it finds that the assessment has been incorrectly or improperly imposed. A call to the Warwick Sewer Authority’s office may quickly rectify any errors.

PAYMENT UNDER PROTEST

          If your appeal is pending at the time you receive the bill for your first annual installment, the payments should be made on time and labeled “paid under protest”.

For more information you can call the
Warwick Sewer Authority
Tel. 739-4949, 468-4731 or 468-4710
Monday – Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm