Community Development Corporation Applauds Clean Water Legislation

The Tribe’s Community Development Corporation, which continues to assess the viability of an exchange with the Air National Guard for the wastewater treatment facility on Otis, is in full support of legislation that was finalized in the Massachusetts House and Senate on Thursday, December 20. The legislation will regulate short-term housing rentals through websites like Airbnb and includes an important tax that will establish a Cape and Islands Water Protection Fund.

The new legislation allows local municipalities to levy a 2-6 percent tax on all short-term rental units in addition to the 5.7 percent hotel and motel tax. Most Cape towns are already at 4 percent for that local option, with only four at 6 percent, which would automatically apply for short-term rentals, according to state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro.

An additional 2.75 percent tax will be imposed on short-term rentals locally to establish and fund the Cape and Islands Water Protection Fund, creating a dedicated funding stream for the region’s multibillion-dollar wastewater cleanup efforts.

This is welcome news for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Community Development Corporation that is exploring an exchange with the 102nd Air National Guard that would significantly improve the short- and long-term water quality in the surrounding towns.

That could mean $1 billion in funding for wastewater infrastructure on the Cape and Islands, Cyr said.

“Christmas came early for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket,” he said. “It’s been a long road to pass short-term rental legislation and I want to commend Rep. Sarah Peake for her dogged determination to finally realize this critical priority was passed on Beacon Hill.”

Peake, who is a member of House leadership, was optimistic about the new bill’s chances Thursday afternoon.

“I’m thrilled that it’s done and hopeful the Senate will accept the amendment and we can get it across the goal line,” she said.