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Rhode Island Residents are entitled to access public records pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Access To Public Records Act (R.I. General Laws 38-2 et. seq. “APRA”). The purpose of this procedure is to facilitate public access and inspection of public records promptly and efficiently and provide access to public records within a reasonable period of time. It should be noted that under APRA, certain documents or information are not public where disclosure is exempt, is unlawful, or constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy. 


Public Records Requests

Requests for access to public records must be made electronically at If you are interested in FD agendas, please visit :

To ensure prompt and efficient access to public records in a reasonable amount of time, a “Public Records Request Form” must be completed.  If the requesting party declines to complete the Public Records Request Form, the assigned Fire District staff will fill out the form, including the date, time, and substance of the request to keep as a record and to ensure conformance with APRA timeframes.


APRA provides that the Shelter Harbor Fire District has ten (10) business days to respond to an access to public records request or to be granted an extension for good cause. Documents responsive to the request will be compiled up to the date and time of receipt.  If the request is denied, the denial will be made in writing, state the specific reason(s) for the denial, and indicate the procedure(s) for an appeal.


It should be noted that APRA does not require the Fire District to reorganize, consolidate, or compile data not maintained in the format requested.


Exempt Records

Any reasonably segregable portion of a public record that is exempt shall be available after the deletion of information which is the basis of any exclusion and does not violate the intent of APRA.

Public Posting Of Record Requests And Responses

In order to provide access to issues that may be of interest to the general public, the Fire District may store documents on its website and/or internet link. The Fire District may refer records requests to the website and/or internet link for any documents already publicly posted and responsive to the request. Completed requests for public records and the responses may also be publicly posted.


Fees & Charges

The Fire District may estimate a fee as established under APRA for responses in excess of ten (10) pages and/or one (1) hour of search, retrieval, and segregation of exempt and non-exempt information. The charge for copies of public records on 8.5 X 11 inch or 8.5 X 14 inch one-sided paper in black ink is fifteen cents ($0.15) per page or as established under APRA. All other reproductions (color copies, photographs, maps, electronic data processing records, computer-stored data, etc.) will be provided at actual costs. If records are mailed, the postage and cost of mailing materials will also be charged. Multiple requests from the same entity within thirty (30) days will be considered a single request for the total calculation of allowable charges.


The requestor will be required to pay the estimated cost in advance and prior to any records search or reproduction. If the actual total cost is less than the estimate, the requestor will be reimbursed for the difference. If the actual cost exceeds the estimate, records gathered to that point will be forwarded as responsive to the request along with a revised estimate. The records search will be suspended until payment is received for the revised estimate.


There will be no charge for viewing or downloading any public record posted on the Fire District’s website and/or internet link. There will be no charge for record responses of ten (10) pages or less [unless such charge(s) is specifically defined outside of APRA], impacting only (1) municipal department that requires less than one (1) hour of personnel time to search, retrieve, reproduce and segregate exempt and non-exempt information.


Please forward the completed form to

The Shelter Harbor Fire District operates on a fiscal year basis. The fiscal year begins July 1 and ends on the following June 30.


The SHFD is authorized to assess, levy and collect taxes on the rate-able value of real property within the District in order to fund its annual budget. The annual budget is determined by the voters of the District at its Annual Meeting held in August each year. The gross tax levy for a fiscal year is the amount sufficient to fund the annual budget.


The gross tax levy is the product of the total assessed value of the real property within the District and the tax rate (mil rate) expressed as an amount per $1,000 of assessed value.


The assessed value for each Shelter Harbor property is its assessed value as determined by the Town of Westerly as of December 31 of the prior calendar year. For the assessed values of Shelter Harbor properties, and all other Westerly properties, consult the Vision Government Solutions website: .


Tax rates as determined by the voters of the district for various fiscal years are as follows:


Fiscal Year Tax Rate      2017-18 $1.31 / $1,000

                                         2018-19 $1.34 / $1,000

                                         2019-20 $1.25 / $1,000

                                         2020-21 $1.25 / $1,000

                                         2021-22 $1.25 / $1,000


Taxes are assessed for each fiscal year shortly after the Annual Meeting at which the budget and gross levy are determined.


Tax invoices are mailed on or about September 1 to the name and address listed for each property on the records of the Town of Westerly as communicated by the Town to the SHFD.  The SHFD charges a $5.00 service fee for delivering a duplicate tax invoice to any person or entity other than to the person or entity whose name and address is listed on the official records of the Town.


Taxes are due and payable in full on or before September 30. Tax payments should be mailed to the following address: SHFD, P.O. Box 2944, Westerly, RI 02891.  Your cancelled check or other evidence payment is your receipt.


Payments received after the due date are subject to a penalty of 1% of the tax due for each month or portion of a month that the payment is late. For example, a payment received on January 15 is subject to a penalty of 4% of the tax due.

A Tax Collector’s Certificate as to the full payment or balance due with respect to SHFD taxes as to a specific property may be obtained for a fee of $25.


Anne Thomas

Tax Assessor and Collector

Shelter Harbor Fire District

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