Snyder's Sandwich Answering Readers' Questions

Mark SnyderGENE M. MARCHAND/ENTERPRISE - Mark Snyder

I have been writing this column for about five months here in The Sandwich Enterprise. I’ve been pleased with the response. I particularly enjoy meeting my readers at the beach, the supermarket, and all around town. After all, writers are a lonely bunch. We sit in front of a computer and type out words, oblivious sometimes to the world around us.

I spend a lot of my time reading e-mails. I get quite a few. With my trusty dog Harry by my side, I get through as many as I can. This week, I thought I’d delve into the mail bag, and answer a few of the missives that were sent. I’ll use only first names, to protect the good reputations of my readers. 

Here’s a few of the more recent e-mails:

“I’m a 30+ year resident living on North Shore Boulevard paying almost $12,000 each year in property taxes. My question is, given the high tax rate, why do hotels/motels pay town taxes and cottage rentals do not? Thanks for any assistance answering this question.”—Kathy

Thanks for writing, Kathy. Judy Rumul, the office manager at the Sandwich Assessor’s office, says, “Everyone pays the same rate.” Edward Childs, the director of assessing for the Town of Sandwich, tells Snyder’s Sandwich: “There’s an occupancy tax that hotels and motels pay that goes to the state. Most of it comes back to us on the cherry sheets, in terms of reimbursement. In terms of the real estate tax rate, they’d both pay the same tax rate. We’ve never had the commercial/industrial rate any higher than residential. It’s all the same.”

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“My daughter is considering getting into journalism and I was wondering if you had any advice for her? Are there any particular schools you recommend? Also, where do you come up with your ideas?”—Joe

Thanks for the e-mail, Joe. My only advice for your daughter is to keep writing! Have her keep a diary, and write in it every day. Most colleges offer courses in creative writing, journalism, and English language. In addition, it helps as a writer to have taken history, science, psychology, statistics, and sociology courses, as well.

Practical experience makes a difference. Have your daughter try to get an internship at a newspaper, where she may learn the business from the bottom up. Many local weeklies can use writers, but have lower budgets. So, if she writes for a local paper and gets her own byline, it can help her build an excellent resume. Good luck to her (and to you, on paying the tuition bill. As far as ideas, most are generated from readers.)

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“The 6 homes on Route 6A between Chipman Road and Gully Road that are essentially uninhabitable. When I dropped off my taxes, I asked who I would contact about the homes. They suggested I start with the building department.  I sent them an e-mail 2 weeks ago and have heard nothing. I am curious as to who owns the homes, at what point the town can step in and do something about them. Several of them are literally boarded up with no windows and holes in the roof. The others are coming very close to this state. They are an eyesore on one of our most famous drives, they are unsafe, and I am at a loss as to why.”—Barb

Thanks for writing, Barb. I made a call to building inspector Paul Spiro. He was unavailable. So, I’ll try again and publish the results in a future column.

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“Mark, I was wondering if you could research what kind of tax relief Sandwich residents can EXPECT to see with the closure of the Wing school. Thank you.”—Don

Don, thanks for writing. I expect you will see NO tax relief as a result of the Wing School closure. I say that because I know how local governments work.  Supt. of schools Richard Canfield said there would be a million dollars in savings, but you can bet that if it materializes, it will be spent. That is the nature of the beach. Officially, assessor Edward Childs said it is premature to answer the question. “We’d need to see the complete budget to come up with an answer on that.”

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“Mark, How much can the town bleed from the Tax payer? If the money is not there, then cut services. If a household is suffering from reduced income it has to be run within its budget. Property values decrease and never does the homeowner see a decrease in taxes. Just adjust the rate to keep them on the rise. Nothing changes for the municipality only the taxpayer lives with less. Is this Peter Pan in Neverneverland we are in? Great column. Keep it coming.”—Pete

Thanks for writing, Pete.  It does seem like we are getting taxed from every angle—local, state and federal. Add to that all the fees, and we’re drowning in it. I guess the only choice is electing leaders who spend what comes in, and not a cent more—leaders who look for outside-the-box solutions, without digging further into taxpayer’s pockets.

I get many e-mails that are of a personal nature, telling me about experiences they’ve had with different departments and employees. I never publish those. But, I sometimes do look into things. So, feel free to e-mail me at snyderssandwich@aol.com and I’ll try to help you. You could end up in one of my periodic e-mail compilation columns like this one!
 
RUMBLINGS AROUND TOWN

TROUT CANCELED: The book-signing with best-selling author Nick Trout scheduled for Sunday, June 8, at Green Briar Nature Center, and featured in this space last week, has been cancelled, due to health issues of the author.

SANDWICH ARTISANS SHOW: Tomorrow, Saturday, June 7, from 10 AM to 4 PM on the Sandwich Public Library lawn. These juried shows feature fine art, jewelry, pottery, glasswork, photographs, hand-crafted clothing, home accessories, wooden items, and much more made by local artisans! All vendor fees are donated to benefit the Sandwich Public Library. Sandwich Artisans was voted the 2011 Best Business in Sandwich by the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce. Next show is Saturday, July 5. 

STRAWBERRY DAY ON Saturday, JUNE 7! Green Briar Nature Center’s  Annual Strawberry Day will be held tomorrow on Saturday, June 7, from 10 AM to 4 PM. Enjoy a homemade strawberry dessert for just $4, and watch a wonderful old-fashioned jam-making demonstration in the Jam Kitchen. The gift shop will be open, and there will also be a jam-tasting. Browse the used book sale, and enjoy all that Green Briar has to offer. Bring the family and enjoy! At Thornton Burgess Society’s Green Briar center at 6 Discovery Hill Road, East Sandwich.

If you see me on June 11, don’t say a word.  It’s a traumatic birthday.  Mum’s the word!

Mark Snyder, who has written more than 1,900 articles in newspapers and magazines, and published three books, is the CEO of PMPNetwork.com, the Internet’s entertainment superstation. Have a story idea? He can be reached by e-mail at snyderssandwich@aol.com, on Facebook (Snyder’s Stoughton), and on Twitter (MediaMan2009). Write him via snail mail at Box 639, East Sandwich 02537.  

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