From the Association to Preserve Cape Cod:
The Association to Preserve Cape Cod welcomed the news that efforts to restore Cape Cod’s water resources took a significant step forward this week with the state Senate’s approval of the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund.
The Senate’s approval of language to create the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund came in the form of an amendment introduced by Senator Julian Cyr to the short-term rental tax bill, which was passed by the Senate Wednesday. The House of Representatives recently passed its own version of the short-term rental tax bill, which also included language for the water protection fund.
“This action by the legislature, with leadership from our Cape Cod legislative delegation, will provide much-needed assistance to Cape Cod towns in their efforts to improve water quality,” stated Andrew Gottlieb, APCC’s executive director.
APCC has been a leading proponent of the water protection fund and worked closely with the Cape Cod legislative delegation and other community leaders, including the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the Center for Coastal Studies, in advocating for its adoption.
The fund will benefit from revenue generated by a 2.75 percent fee added to the tax on short-term rentals occurring on Cape Cod. The fund will provide financial assistance to towns to implement wastewater management projects to restore the health of the Cape’s bays and estuaries.
It is estimated that the fund could generate $8 to $9 million annually to towns to fund principle forgiveness on state loans for wastewater management. All towns in Barnstable County will be able to utilize the fund and towns in Dukes and Nantucket Counties have the ability to opt into the funding program in the future.
“APCC is greatly appreciative of the support and commitment of the entire Cape Cod legislative delegation in bringing the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund to this successful outcome,” said Gottlieb. “We’re very grateful to Senator Julian Cyr for introducing the fund amendment on the Senate floor yesterday, and to Senator Vinny deMacedo for standing up to speak in support of the amendment. APCC also wishes to thank the Cape’s legislators in the House of Representatives, especially Representative Sarah Peake, for their successful efforts in getting the water protection fund through the House,” said Gottlieb.
The Senate short-term rental tax bill, including the Cape and Islands Water Protection Fund, will now go to a legislative conference committee to reconcile it with the version passed by the House. Once a final version has been approved, the bill will go Governor Charlie Baker for his signature.