Sesuit Harbor Zoning Discussion

We had a good discussion today about the facilities associated with a “Public Marina.” As we did not finish this discussion, we will take up this issue next Thursday. We will meet again at 9 am in the Town Hall Annex on October 31st.

At this meeting, and a few recent ones, the issue of the source of Dennis property tax revenue came into the discussion. The “sources” of tax revenue is a complicated one. In its simplest form, 92% of local receipts comes from residential property taxes. Residential properties cover a wide spectrum just in itself. The discussion we were having is further complicated in how the expenditures from tourism further affects “sources” of property tax receipts.

Trying a simplistic breakdown – will try to acquire appropriate percentages and expenditure multipliers to supplement this over the coming months.

First, Dennis is a seasonal community, 52% of our homes are designated seasonal by the U. S. Census. Both this 52% and 48% can be further subdivided.

Taking the 52% that is seasonal, these include permanent residents who winter elsewhere but consider Dennis their permanent home; second homeowners who use these properties for their summer residences; and investment rental properties.

These investment rental properties, generally weekly rentals,  equate to a portion of the residential tax receipts coming directly from the tourism industry. While not all of these properties get proper permits, we can produce an estimate of this from rental permit data.

Of the remainder of the 52%, a portion is associated with housing occupied by individuals directly employed in the seasonal tourism industry (seasonal business owners for instance and seasonal employees). An additional portion is associated with people employed in support industries to the tourism industry (this is probably a small number such as those providing linen services to seasonal hotels). Breaking down the 52% will be difficult, but we can look for support data.

The 48% of housing, can be smilarly broken down with better data. The Census includes data on the nature of employment of residents. Census data for direct employment in the tourism industry  (hospitality industry for instance) and indirectly (service industry) is available.

As you can see, even at this level we are dealing with estimates. Anything that is indirectly linked is only supported in part by the tourism industry. But, expenditures have multiplier effects. Purchases at a restaurant pays employees who then spend a portion of there earnings locally. The Massachusetts Office of Tourism maintains appropriate multipliers than can assist with this estimate.

In the end, we can probably develop a ballpark estimate of the residential property tax receipts associated with the tourism industry. Just a caveat, the loss of thetourism industry would also have an impact on the remaining housing stock. It may be possible to estimate this impact as well.

Economists are definitely welcome to assist in this effort.


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