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, Feb. 2
- Zoning Board of Appeals, 5 p.m. Town Hall
- Nauset Regional School Committee, 6 p.m., Nauset Middle School Auditorium and virtual
Sunday, Feb. 5
- Open Space Committee, 11 a.m., site visit 150 Sandy Meadow Way
Monday, Feb. 6
- Select Board, 5:30 p.m., Town Hall
Tuesday, Feb. 7
- Taxation Aid Committee, 11:15 a.m., Town Hall
Thursday, Feb. 9
- Affordable Housing Trust, 9 a.m., Town Hall
Hearing From Part-Timers
Eight people wrote letters to the select board opposing a residential tax exemption (RTE), which would have granted a few hundred dollars off of some year-round homeowners’ tax bills and added a few hundred to second-home owners’ bills.
The select board voted 3-2 against adopting the exemption on Jan. 23. But the letters were not included in the packet available to the public. Select board Chair Jamie Demetri asked that they be released; they will be by Feb. 6, said Administrative Assistant Laurie Gillespie-Lee. The Independent now has some of the letters, though there are still more the select board members received that they must forward to Gillespie-Lee.
Ellen Graziano Smith of Chester Road and East Hartford, Conn. wrote that she had to buy other family members out of the house they inherited from their parents and still carries a mortgage on her primary and secondary residences. She is not “wealthy to the point of living in the lap of luxury,” she stated.
Amy Michalowski said she is new to town and wondered if the debt incurred for the cost of renovating Nauset Regional High School would also be part of the taxes collected by the RTE.
“I am a supporter of the community,” Michalowski wrote. “But to pass on a disproportionate amount of this debt to taxpayers not using the service at all does not sit well.”
Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe responded, writing that the second-home market drives real-estate prices and has priced locals out of the market. Beebe said 60 percent of residents are retired, and “we are now in a situation where all the service industries needed to sustain them are shrinking rapidly. We have less/no snow plowers, home health aides, doctors, dentists, plumbers, and electricians.”
Residents pay more for food, gas, and services because it is a resort or second-home community and the RTE “is one tool to help,” Beebe wrote.
The other writers in opposition were Ellen Sicinski, Mark Sicinski, Adolph G. Reinhardt, Marianne DeMarzo, Gregory de Lissovoy, and the Eastham Part-time Resident Taxpayers Association board on behalf of its 1,400 members.
A ninth letter came from Brigid McKenna, a year-rounder who favored the RTE for the reasons Beebe mentioned. “Speaking for my family,” McKenna wrote, the savings of a few hundred dollars “would make a big different to us.” —K.C. Myers