Most meetings are being held in person, but some are still held online. Go to eastham-ma.gov and click on the meeting you are interested in for details on any virtual options that may be offered.
Thursday, Jan. 26
- Council on Aging Board, 9:30 a.m., Town Hall
- Board of Health workshop, 2 p.m., Town Hall
- Board of Health, 3 p.m., Town Hall
- Nauset Regional School Committee, 6 p.m., virtual
Tuesday, Jan. 31
- Task Force on Residential Zoning, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall
- 1651 Forest Advisory Committee, 5 p.m., Public Library
Thursday, Feb. 2
- Zoning Board of Appeals, 5 p.m., Town Hall
No Residential Exemption
The select board on Jan. 23 voted 3-2 against adopting a residential tax exemption (RTE), which would have given year-round residents a few hundred dollars off their property tax bills while adding a few hundred to the tax bills of nonresident homeowners.
As happens every year when this topic comes up, Eastham’s board members argued their cases passionately.
“My position has not changed and probably never will,” said board member Art Autorino, who went on to call the RTE divisive and administratively expensive. He said he does not think the measure worthwhile because it does not bring additional revenue to the town.
On the Outer Cape, Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet all allow qualified residents to elect to exclude a portion of their property’s assessed value from taxation. But, Eastham board members said, those towns have a higher proportion of nonresidents than Eastham.
The Eastham board has said it will wait until 60 percent of the town is made up of second homes for two years in a row before they will vote in favor of an RTE. The estimated nonresident proportion is now at about 55 percent — the same as last year — said Assistant Town Administrator Rich Bienvenue.
According to the Cape Cod Commission’s statistics, nonresidents make up 59 percent of Eastham households, 61 percent of Wellfleet’s, 74 percent of Truro’s, and 57 percent of Provincetown’s.
Jamie Demetri, the board chair, said it’s clear that in one or two years, Eastham will reach the 60 percent nonresident point, and she is hoping to stop that trend however possible.
Taxes are going up for everyone because of the need for water, police, fire, and other infrastructure designed for peak population. So, year-rounders are affected by growth in second-home ownership, she said.
Demetri and Suzanne Bryan voted to implement an RTE, while Aimee Eckman, Autorino, and Gerald Cerasale voted against it. —K.C. Myers