There shall be a Department of Finance, the head of which shall be the Director of Finance. The Director of Finance shall be the Town Manager or someone appointed by the manager.
[Amended 11-4-2008, effective 1-1-2009]
The Director of Finance shall have knowledge of municipal accounting, finance, taxation, budgeting, financial control and investments. The director shall have a minimum bachelor of arts or science degree from an accredited college or university in a financial area of study.
The function of the department shall be the supervision and direction of all matters pertaining to the financial operation of the town, including, but not limited to, accounting and budgeting, control of expenditures, assessment and collection of taxes and other administration of trust funds, and such other duties as shall be required by this Charter, by ordinance, or by state law.
Within the Department of Finance there may be the office of Town Treasurer, Tax Assessor, Tax Collector, Purchasing Agent, Board of Assessment Review, Town Auditor, and such other office or agency as the Town Council may establish and place under the jurisdiction of the Director of Finance.
The Director of Finance shall have general supervision and control of the operation of all offices in the Department of Finance.
There shall be in the Department of Finance, a Town Treasurer who may be the Director of Finance, the Town Manager, or someone appointed by the Town Manager. The Town Manager may appoint a Deputy Town Treasurer if the manager shall deem such appointment necessary, and such Deputy Town Treasurer shall have all the powers and perform the duties of the Town Treasurer.
The Town Treasurer shall have knowledge of accounting and shall have had experience in budgeting financial control.
The Town Treasurer and the Deputy Town Treasurer, within fifteen (15) days of the time of being sworn into office, shall give bonds to the town in such sum, and with such sureties as the Town Council shall prescribe, for the faithful performance of their duties, the cost of such bond to be paid by the town.
The Town Treasurer is hereby vested and shall have and exercise all the powers and duties now and hereafter vested by law in town treasurers, and the treasurer shall have and exercise all the powers and duties vested by this Charter in the Town Treasurer or that may hereafter be vested in town treasurers by resolution, ordinance, or by state law.
The Town Treasurer shall:
Cooperate with the Director of Finance, the Town Manager, and the Town Council in compiling the expenditure and revenue estimates for the budget.
Receive all license fees, rents, funds, money receivable by the town from the state or federal government, the courts, and any department, office or agency of the town, except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by law.
Have custody of all public funds belonging to or under the control of the town or of any department, office or agency of the town, including the School Department; deposit all funds coming into the treasurer's hands in such depositories as may be designated by the Town Council; or, if no such designation shall be made, in such depositories as the treasurer may choose, provided, however, that deposits in such depositary are insured by an agency of the United States. All interest received on deposits shall be the property of the town and shall be accounted for and credited to the proper accounts.
Have custody of all investments and invested funds of the town or in the possession of the town in a fiduciary capacity.
Pre-audit all bills, invoices, payrolls and other evidence of claims or charges against the town and see that budget appropriations are not exceeded by any disbursements in any department, office, or agency of the town, including the School Department.
Pay out funds by check, such payments being made only after compliance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph and authorization of the Town Council.
Prescribe and maintain an accounting system for the town and adopt and require standard accounting procedures for all departments, offices, and agencies of the town, including the School Department, which accounts shall include the amounts of all appropriations and the amounts paid from each, and show in reasonable detail the person to whom and the purpose for which the payments were made, the unpaid obligations against each appropriation, and the unencumbered balance.
Prescribe uniform forms of receipts, vouchers, bills, and claims to be used by all departments, offices, and agencies of the town, including the School Department.
Prepare a monthly statement of all receipts and disbursements, in sufficient detail to show the financial condition of the town, for submission to the Director of Finance, the Town Manager, and the Town Council.
Prepare as soon as possible after, and as of, the end of each fiscal year, a complete financial statement and report, in accordance with state law, for submission to the Director of Finance, the Town Manager, the Town Council, and the electors of the town. A copy thereof shall be filed in the Town Clerk's office and shall become a public record.
The Town Treasurer may have custody, control, and responsibility for the operation of the H.N. Waterman Fund, the Isaac Fiske Fund, funds accepted to provide perpetual care of cemetery lots, and any other funds which may, in the future, come into possession of the town in a fiduciary capacity, with the approval of the Town Council in its capacity as trustee or otherwise.
There shall be within the Department of Finance, a Purchasing Agent, who shall be the Town Manager, or someone appointed by the manager. The Town Manager may appoint the Director of Finance as Purchasing Agent.
The Purchasing Agent shall perform the work of buying for the town pursuant to rules and regulations established by the Town Manager, with the approval of the Town Council. The Purchasing Agent, or an officer appointed by the Purchasing Agent, shall purchase or contract for all supplies, materials and equipment required by any department, office, or agency of the town, including the School Department; establish and enforce specifications with respect to supplies, materials and equipment; be responsible for the inspection of deliveries of supplies, materials and equipment to determine their quality, quantity, and conformance with specifications; cause to be made and kept current an inventory of all supplies, materials, and equipment belonging to the town; store, if necessary, and distribute all supplies, materials, and equipment required by any department, office, or agency; transfer to, or between, departments, offices, or agencies, surplus obsolete and unused supplies, materials and equipment, and, subject to the approval of the Town Council, dispose of any such property, by sale if possible.
Whenever any department, office, or agency of the town shall purchase or contract for any supplies, materials, equipment, or contractual services, independently and contrary to the provisions of this Charter and rules and regulations made hereunder such order or contract shall be voidable by the town.
[Amended 11-2-1999; 11-4-2014]
Except in the case of contracts for professional services, before the town makes any purchase of, or contract for. supplies, materials, or work to be performed in excess of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00), opportunity shall be given for competitive bidding, after public notice, under such rules and regulations and with such exceptions as the Town Council may prescribe. No such transaction which is essentially a unit shall be divided into a series of orders for the purpose of circumventing the requirement of this Charter for competitive bidding.
All such purchases or such contracts, for more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00), shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, except that the purchasing authority may be directed by the Town Council to reject any and all bids and then to re-advertise for bids.
Bids, specifications, and all other factors being equal, preference shall be given to the bidder whose place of business is located in the Town of Coventry.
There shall be, within the Department of Finance, the office of Tax Assessor. The Tax Assessor shall be appointed by the Town Manager, with the approval of the Town Council.
The Tax Assessor shall hold no other paid public office or employment in the service of the town or of the state or federal government, except as provided in Section 15.01(f).
The Tax Assessor shall have and perform all the powers and duties which are now, or may hereafter be, vested in tax assessors of towns in the State of Rhode Island.
The Tax Assessor shall:
Supervise and be responsible for the fixing of an assessed valuation, for the purposes of taxation, upon all real estate and upon all taxable personal property;
Apply to, or apportion upon, the assessed valuation of real estate and personal property the amount of tax ordered to be levied or imposed thereon;
Make and prepare all regular and special assessment rolls and tax rolls for the town in the manner prescribed by law;
Establish a uniform and equitable system for assessing all classes and kinds of property;
Prepare tax maps, land value maps, and maintain a record of the ownership of real estate for tax purposes;
Give notices of assessments and taxes, and perform such other duties as may be required by law;
Subject to the approval of the director of finance, to employ from time-to-time, within the limits of available appropriations, such clerical assistants, and such technical consultants, as may be necessary; and
Cooperate with the board of canvassers and registration in the preparation of lists of voters.
Every ten (10) years, or at more frequent intervals if desirable, secure a complete revaluation of the real and personal property located within the town.
There shall be within the Department of Finance a Board of Assessment Review consisting of five (5) members. The tax assessors who are holding office on the date this Charter becomes effective shall become members of the board until the expiration of the term for which each was elected as a tax assessor. The Town Council shall appoint additional members to bring the membership of the board to five (5) members.
The initial appointments made by the Town Council may be for two (2), four (4), or six (6) years in order to stagger the terms of the members of the board. Thereafter all appointments shall be for six (6) years.
Except as provided in Section 10.40, the Town Council shall appoint one (1) member of the board from each of the Town Council districts. In no case shall the Town Council make an appointment whereby there will be two (2) members from the same district.
The Town Council shall provide for the organization and procedures of the Board of Assessment Review and for the manner of receiving, considering and disposing of appeals.
The Board of Assessment Review shall hear and consider the appeal of any property owner concerning the amount of the owner's assessed valuation as determined by the Tax Assessor. The Tax Assessor shall attend all hearings of the board but shall have no vote. The board shall keep an accurate record of the proceedings which shall be available for public inspection.
If it shall appear that the valuation of any property has been incorrectly or inequitably assessed, the board shall have authority to order a correction. Such determination shall be certified by the board to the assessor whose duty it shall be to make corrections in the valuation as the board may determine. If the tax roll has been certified by the assessor, the assessor shall transmit the findings of the board to the Town Council, which shall cancel, in whole or in part, the tax based on such valuation in order to effect a correction.
The taking of an appeal to the Board of Assessment Review, or any action thereon, shall not be construed to limit or restrict the right of any taxpayer to apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for relief from any assessed valuation or tax originally determined by the Tax Assessor or subsequently by the Board of Assessment Review.
There shall be, within the Department of Finance, a Tax Collector, who shall be the Town Manager or someone appointed by the manager. The Town Manager may appoint the Director of Finance or the Town Treasurer to serve as Tax Collector.
It shall be the duty of the Tax Collector to collect and receive all taxes and special assessments for the collection of which the town is responsible. The Tax Collector shall have all the powers, rights, and duties prescribed by the laws of the state for Tax Collectors.
The Tax Collector shall periodically, at such times as the Town Council shall direct, transfer to the Town Treasurer all town funds collected by the Tax Collector.
The Tax Collector shall hold a tax sale at intervals and shall include all real estate, the taxes on which are in the third year of delinquency.
The Tax Collector, within fifteen (15) days of the time of being sworn into office, shall give bond to the town in such sum and with such sureties as the Town Council shall prescribe, for the faithful performance of the duties of such office. The cost of such bond shall be paid by the town.