Most meetings are being held in person, but some are still remote or virtual. Go to eastham-ma.gov and click on the meeting you are interested in to learn about meeting locations and any remote options that may be offered.
Thursday, Jan. 12
- Nauset Regional School Committee, 6 p.m., virtual
Tuesday, Jan. 17
- Historical Commission, 10:30 a.m., Public Library
- Elementary School Committee, 5 p.m.
- Task Force on Residential Zoning, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall
Wednesday, Jan. 18
- Open Space Committee, 3 p.m.
- Planning Board, 5 p.m., Town Hall
Short-Term Rental Revenue Is Flowing
Eastham’s short-term rental tax brought in $1.1 million in fiscal year 2022, which ended June 30, Assistant Town Administrator Rich Bienvenue told the Independent, and about $772,900 is still up for grabs.
Eastham’s spending policy on this relatively new tax, instituted in 2019, is to leave a large chunk unallocated. The use of the unallocated money is to be determined by the select board and a town meeting vote, Bienvenue said.
This policy is controversial because advocates and lawmakers say the funds from the “Airbnb tax” should go to investment in affordable housing, since the surge in short-term rentals has made the housing crisis worse by depleting year-round rental stock.
But as a matter of fact, Bienvenue said, housing is where most of Eastham’s short-term rental tax revenue has gone, and this year it could instead go to housing’s close cousin, wastewater infrastructure. The town is facing a multi-million-dollar sewer project to clean up ponds and estuaries. Multi-unit wastewater systems and sewers are important affordable housing tools because they support development while protecting water, he said.
In fiscal 2021, $900,000 of the short-term rental tax revenue went toward future affordable housing projects, Bienvenue said.
It should be mentioned that the select board’s policy on the short-term rental tax does include some predetermined commitments. About $300,000 each year goes to pay the debt service on the town’s purchase of the Town Center Plaza (also to be used for some affordable housing), Bienvenue said. Another chunk pays the part-time salary of the rental inspector, and a portion goes to the town housing coordinator’s salary. —K.C. Myers