New Mashpee Selectman Seeks To Shift Tax Burden To Seasonal Homeowners
By: GEOFF SPILLANE, June 4, 2014
Newly-seated Mashpee Selectman Andrew R. Gottlieb is moving fast to fulfill a campaign promise to reduce property taxes for year-round residents.
On Monday evening, June 2, at Mr. Gottlieb’s request, the board of selectmen voted unanimously to establish a working group to evaluate the adoption of a residential tax exemption for year-round owner-occupied homes.
The group will include Mr. Gottlieb, Town Manager Joyce M. Mason, Treasurer Craig F. Mayen, and Director of Assessing Jason R. Streebel.
The working group will analyze and assess the impact on the town should it adopt Massachusetts General Law Title IX, Chapter 59, which would empower the town to provide up to a 20 percent exemption from taxation for a residential property occupied full-time, year-round.
Mr. Gottlieb said that approximately two-thirds of homes in Mashpee are owner-occupied year-round, while one third are occupied on a seasonal basis.
According to Mr. Gottlieb, there are currently 12 municipalities in Massachusetts that have adopted this exemption, including Nantucket and Barnstable, as well as more urban communities such as Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline.
“I think if you look at the demographics of Mashpee, it is a town with a higher proportion of older residents, and the population generally earns a below median income. Our year-round residents are suffering economically,” Mr. Gottlieb said, explaining his rationale for establishing the working group and adding that this is the only way he can think of to provide some tax relief.
He also noted that seasonal, second-home owners are generally in a financial position to pay more taxes, and that the town has to incur an element of incremental cost to service the seasonal population with extra police, fire, and recreation personnel required when the town’s population skyrockets during the summer months.
The working group will present its findings by the end of July.
“A benefit of completing our research by then is that many of those that would be affected by the reapportionment will be here in August when we discuss the issue,” Mr. Gottlieb said.