To the Editor:
The Land Bank does not pay property taxes, and in fact takes property taxes off the tax roll.
The Land Bank has an enormous amount of money in its kitty after the recent years, with the ability to acquire more properties. At what point does the Island have enough properties in conservation? At what point has it taken enough property off our tax rolls, and not given back to our infrastructure, which the Land Bank needs?
How much revenue has the Island lost due to these Land Bank acquisitions?
When the Land Bank buys a property it increases the value of neighboring property, which adds to the affordability issue on the Island. The Land Bank has had an effect on increased values that would not have been there without them.
Over 40 percent of the Island is protected by various conservation groups. The Land Bank is a powerful organization with a huge pool of money. Are we at the tipping point of enough conserved land for conservation? We still need to have property for housing of all types. The Island is supported by new construction, which will come to an end at some point, as more and more properties are gobbled up by the Land Bank and other conservation groups.
The Land Bank purchase of a $9.5 million property in Edgartown for its employees’ housing is a perfect example of misuse. We now lose $35,000 in taxes annually. They also purchased an additional nearby property for $8 million, which is now off our tax rolls. Another loss of $28,000. Something needs to be done to keep these properties on our tax roll.
We have done a great job in protecting Martha’s Vineyard. We now need to focus on maintaining what we have. We have to decide how we want to proceed, but now is the time to talk about when the Land Bank needs to change its mission.