At the TPRTA Annual Meeting on July 1, 150 + participants heard a full presentation of the Town’s proposal to implement a state-based Residential Tax Exemption (RTE). This RTE would reduce the assessed value of all qualifying full-time properties by 20% of the average assessed value of all residences in Truro, (i.e, $638, 496 in FY 2017, resulting in $127,699 in reduced assessment). A uniform single tax rate would apply to adjusted assessed values and to part-time residents full assessed values. The cost of the tax exemption would be shifted fully onto part-time residents only.
TPRTA took no position on the RTE prior to or at the meeting, intending only to present factual information and alternatives and to seek part-time resident taxpayer input. [See TPRTA Ann Mtg 2017_Res Tax Exemp docs]
TPRTA made participants aware of some practical and constructive alternatives that could be adopted by the Town to afford the same or greater tax relief without needing a tax shift only on to part-time resident taxpayers.
After spirited discussion the members overwhelmingly voted (145 opposed /5 abstain) to oppose this RTE on many grounds. A major consideration is the divisiveness of the RTE itself, which casts part-times residents as a separate class of resident, more like tourists and outsiders. For our part-time resident taxpayer community, which has deep roots in and deep love for Truro, this is both an alarming precedent and view.
So, at the same meeting the importance of being good neighbors as individuals and as an organization was paramount as well. Participants voted to make sure that we do all we can to ensure none of our full-time (or part-time) neighbors experiences tax hardship, and to make sure all available exemptions are widely known and used to the fullest extent possible by full-time neighbors.
They also voted to make sure we are fully informed on the law that permits this RTE and that it is being applied properly and fairly.
They urged us to have constructive and open conversation with Selectmen and other Town officials as soon as possible, to promote community harmony and tax fairness. TPRTA has set up a Committee on Tax equity and Exemptions on this matter which will organize these conversations and propose constructive alternatives.
The Town’s information on the proposed RTE was the basis for TPRTA’s presentation. That data and TPRTA’s presentation of it can can be found here.