, Gloucester, MA

September 17, 2013

Letter: Town not being shortchanged at Long Beach

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

My husband and I live year-round in Rockport.

We own a home here in town and a summer cottage on Long Beach. We were talking to some friends the other night on the porch of our cottage. The conversation came around to an idea currently being circulated that the town should require the tenants on Long Beach to buy their lots, which we currently lease from the town.

Based largely on letters printed in the Times recently, our friends were under the impression that the town is not currently being fairly compensated for the rental of Long Beach lots and that the arrangement was not equitable.

To more fully inform residents who may not understand the current arrangement, following is some information about the fees and taxes that Long Beach residents pay the town.

The town owns all of Long Beach, including the land atop the beach adjacent to the seawall where approximately 150 summer cottages are situated. The owners of these cottages are summer residents who currently have a 10-year lease with the town that allows them to rent the land, own a home on the land, and occupy it from April 15 to Oct. 15.

Like other cottage owners, we personally pay $2,500 annually in land rent. We also personally pay approximately $8,000 in taxes. This amount is based, like all properties in Rockport, on the assessed value of the land and the building.

The total land rent from all the cottages paid to the town is approximately $300,000 per year. The total tax revenue from the cottages is about $700,000.

Note that cottage owners pay taxes on their dwellings and on the assessed value of the land that they do not own. They pay annual taxes based on 12-month occupancy, even though they may only occupy their summer cottages for six months. In total, Long Beach produces over $1 million annually in revenue for the town.

It’s wise for the town to pursue the best financial arrangement possible between itself and the Long Beach residents. But regardless of what happens going forward, the residents of Long Beach currently pay considerable rent and taxes for the enjoyment of their homes and leased land, there is no great inequity taking place.