To the editor,
As an economist dealing with public policy issues, my attention was caught by James Niedzinski’s penetrating Aug. 17 report of the Rockport Board of Selectmen’s meeting.
Clearly the town faces a major financial decision, yet from the inquiries I have made, few if any of the residents (save for the directly impacted tenants) know or understand the issues. Interestingly, I understand that the decision rests solely with the BOS and may be made without town meeting approval.
Are the issues here the same as those pertaining to Conomo Point, Essex?
There may be some similarities with respect to market level rents, but there are also many differences. The primary lawsuit in Essex, however, relates to the ownership of the houses. At Long Beach, it is clear that the cabins are owned by the renters.
Will the town owe the renters anything for their homes if they do not renew the leases?
As I understand the lease, the answer is no. The renters have 120 days to remove their homes from the land or the town may do so and bill the renters for such costs. There is no obligation on the town to renew nor any payment required for non-renewal.
A number of folks have asked me whether the fair market rent ought to reflect the fact that the properties may be occupied for only six months each year. Of course, that is true and it is what I mean by fair market rents.
Likewise, rents during the summer months are much higher than for winter beach-front rentals, so their six months would probably be close to 80 percent of a full year’s rental.
A competent independent appraisal would take that into account. I hope the Board of Selectmen will obtain one ASAP.
Congratulations to the Times on your fine coverage of our town’s activities.
IRVING H. PLOTKIN
Rowe Point, Rockport