Providence’s $1 Million Tax Increase Causes Teppco to Close—36 Jobs Lost
Thursday, March 24, 2016
According to sources with the company and at the Port, the City’s tax increase was the major cause of the closure of the facility that has been operating since 1971. Moreover, the failure by city officials to respond and work to resolve the issues caused Teppco to lose a potential buyer that would have allowed the facility to continue to operate and retain jobs.
Effort to Get a Response from the City
As GoLocal reported on February 26, “The million dollar tax hike was frustrating enough. But what's frustrated Teppco officials [is] the lack of communication. The city, Marino said, has ducked correspondence with Teppco for months."
"After about 12 informal requests for information from the city's assessor's office for information on this issue, I was forced to make a formal public records request with the city," said Michael Marino, Teppco’s attorney last month. "Until [this] morning, the tax assessor's office has outright ignored every request for information that we have made."
The propane terminal has packed up and moved most of its equipment from the premises. Teppco is owned by Enterprise Products, located in Houston, Texas. A spokesman from the company was unreachable for comment yesterday.
When the potential sale recently collapsed, Enterprise Products decided to simply close down its operations.
Sources at the company and also at ProvPort (where Teppco was located) confirmed to GoLocal on Wednesday that the company was shutting down its Providence operation. The company has notified the US Coast Guard about its intention to mothball the facility, that satisfies federal safety regulations.
It's unclear what will become of the massive tank and facility located on the property of ProvPort that was used by Teppco.
The move follow the highly contentious dispute over taxes between the company and the city. In 2014, the company paid $252,730 in property and tangible taxes to the City of Providence.
$1 million Increase
As GoLocal originally reported, the company was assessed and billed $1.2 million in taxes (SEE TAX SCHEDULE BELOW) which represented an almost 400-percent increase.
Marino was unreachable for comment for this story. His secretary said he was out of the country.
But he told GoLocal last month that he was blown off just about every time he sought answers about the issue. That left him guessing and hypothesizing as to what the rationale behind the tax hike was. Marino wondered where the mistake was made. He assumed the tank had been improperly classified, but even that wouldn't account for such a massive tax hike, he said. He also believes the company was taxed twice for the same tank.
"The fact that they have classified it as tangible is bad conduct. But the fact that they're taxing it twice is the worst conduct," said Marino.
Marino had made it clear that the company would not pay the 2015 assessment and would fight the bill all the way into court, if need be.
City officials have neglected to comment on this issue as well, citing the fact that the company was going through the appeals process.
Related Slideshow: Top 15 Business Stories in 2015
Implosion of Radio in Central Mass
The two largest radio groups in the United States who own most radio stations in the market are both on the verge of bankruptcy.
"Most of Central MA's favorite radio stations may be impacted by a building Wall Street financial meltdown in the radio industry.
The two biggest radio companies in the United States are on the verge of massive restructuring or bankruptcy, as they each have billions of dollars in debt and little chance of managing the building financial obligations.
How bad is the situation? According to one leading radio analyst, the problem is catastrophic. “$20.5 billion in debt for iHeart — billions more than the city of Detroit when it went bankrupt. As I have been reporting, the venture capitalists are circling the carcass for a 2017 bankruptcy. At Cumulus, new CEO Mary Berner has done nothing new except hire another person from outside the industry…They want to go bankrupt and her experience taking Readers Digest into Chapter 11 is her qualification to be CEO,” said Jerry Del Colliano, Publisher, Inside Music Media.
iHeart radio (formerly Clear Channel) and Cumulus are both facing in economic turmoil and those two groups combined own and operate
“iHeart has more debt — unplayable, at double digit interest rates and the junk bond markets just crashed. Cumulus has about $3 billion of debt that will have to be refinanced. Both are in an industry that is trending down. Break even is the new growth in radio. They’re both done,” said Del Colliano.
Worcester’s Foreclosure Problem is Only Getting Worse
If you think the Great Recession's housing problems are over, you are wrong. Worcester's foreclosure crisis has been bad and is now getting worse.
Despite many aspects of the regional economy picking up, those homeowners who are underwater are still facing significant problems despite all the federal and state programs.
"So November represents the 20th consecutive month increase - we never got as low as the peak of the 1990's crisis, but we are approaching the height of 2011 now," said Grace Ross, former candidate for Governor and leading housing advocate.
- Providence Hits Port Business With $1 Million Tax Hike in One Year
- PEDP Loan Recipients Also Stiffed State for Nearly $1 Million
- GoLocalTV: Elorza Defends No Bid Contract at Festival
- Reed, Raimondo Welcome Goldman Sachs - Who’s Given Over $100K to Top RI Democrats
- Providence’s Economic Battle Over Building More Hotels
- Would RI Tourism Account Be an Economic Spark?
- NEW: Hodgson Blasts Kilmartin For No Bid Legal Contracts to State Legislator
- Moore: Providence’s Commercial Tax Conundrum
- ProvPort Expands - Leases 14 Acres of City Land
- Two New Mobile Cranes Coming to ProvPort