To the Editor:
Watching all the consternation about funding for everything from towns to charities, my observations always end up with the same question. Does not anyone else see the absurdity that the Island community suffers any financial troubles at all, on an Island where weekly rentals range from $1,200 to $50,000, with an amazing number of these rentals being in the $10,000 to $25,000 range.
Rental properties for transients are considered commercial under Massachusetts General Laws for assessing real property. The disparity is in the land value part of your property tax bill. If the assessors assessed under the law, the weekly rentals would be paying a greater portion of the towns’ budgets, the residents’s property tax bill would go down, and the average residential property’s land value would not exceed $50,000.
This is an easy program to implement. The year-round residents show proof of residence, much like Tisbury’s resident exemption, and their land value is dropped to a residential value. Sorry, only one residence allowed. Because all of our homes are assessed based on the value as a rental, the reality is that, if you do not rent weekly or to the tourists, you are over-valued and over-taxed.
The competition for housing between residential and commercial interests is and has always been the cause of the overpriced housing problem, and to add insult to injury, the resident is over-assessed and taxed at a commercial value.
Even Walt Disney would have failed if he forgot to sell tickets. Some day smarter policies will prevail, but I have been tooting this horn since 2000. Oh Well.