Brewster Selectmen Want To Withdraw From Cape & Islands Water Protection Fund And Adopt New Tax
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Rich Eldred Wicked Local
Brewster could become the first Cape town to opt out of the Cape Cod and the Islands Water Protection Fund.
The select board believes Brewster can do better without the other 14 member towns.
The Water Protection Fund The Cape Cod and the Islands Water Protection Fund was created by the state legislature, at the urging of the Cape delegation, in 2018. The idea was to fund mostly big ticket wastewater projects on Cape Cod, such as sewers The state collects lodging taxes from Cape Cod, sends the funds to the CCIWPF which then disperses them to the member towns when they have an
The CCOWPF raises money from a 2.75% tax on lodging (hotels, motels, short term rentals) collected by the state in the 15 member towns. In the four years of its existence, the fund had raised $39 million and dispersed $30.5 million to Cape for projects such as the downtown sewer in Orleans ($14.9 million), $5.5 million for the sewer in Harwich and more. More funding is pending for other towns.
To date, Brewster visitors and inn keepers have contributed about $2.6 million to the fund, but hasn't received any money for work on water quality projects, primarily because the town has major work in the near future.
After a 4-0 vote at Monday’s select board meeting, voters will be asked at the fall Town Meeting to opt out, dropping the local 2.75% lodging tax. In a second article, they will be asked to adopt an option provided by the state for a 3% tax on short-term rentals. Most of that money could be used for water quality projects at the town's discretion. Over time Brewster could raise more cash with this tax than they stand to receive from the CCIWPF.
Withdrawing will require a two-thirds vote at Town Meeting.
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