Brigantine Part-Timers Ponder Voting Rights

Brigantine homeowners regularly endure punishing blows of non-stop tax hikes. To date, only a small handful of local taxpayers had the cahones to ask why city council spends money like a drunken sailor. The patron saint of Brigantine taxpayers with the largest pair, is Anne Phillips. She regularly goes head to head with council about this stuff. Unfortunately, Anne’s message is only heard if you attend a council meeting…or maybe if you catch a live cable broadcast….or if the local newspaper prints her editorial. No matter how powerful her message is, Anne is only seen & heard by a microscopic number of Brigantine taxpayers.

Most Brigantine taxpayers struggle to keep up with how their money is spent. City Hall keeps most in the dark by being painfully slow in posting council meeting minutes. It takes an average of  8 weeks to post the minutes, and a 5 hour meeting is usually condensed down to 3 pages. ( we recommend they easily post the full audio within 24 hours )

3 out of 4 Brigantine homeowners are part-time residents.

Thanks to social networking, a group calling themselves the 70%-ers…..has emerged. They not only represent the approx 70% of Brigantine taxpayers that can’t can’t vote, but this group also defends the interests of full-timers. For years, 70%-ers thought they had to sit on the voting sidelines and HOPE their local leaders were allocating the tax dollars wisely. They cringe at non-sustainable job titles, contracts and salaries. Full-timers hate this stuff too. Full & part-timers have a lot in common. How about that?

Contrary to rumor, 70%-ers DO NOT want to shut down the schools, fire everybody and slash important city programs.

Second homeowners in Brigantine know the importance of a solid, thriving, full time community. 70%-ers only want accountability and efficiency. Funny…. that’s exactly what the full-time Brigantine residents want too.

Below: some research recently discussed by this group of concerned, Brigantine taxpayers:

Non-Resident Homeowner’s in Connecticut can Vote On Budget

Section 7-6 of the Connecticut General Statutes, authorizes United States citizens who own property in a Connecticut town and are liable for taxes of at least $1,000 on the property to vote at town meetings. The law applies to a town with a town meeting form of government, unless a special act directs otherwise, and whether or not the property owners are residents.

A town with a town meeting form of government generally passes its budget at its annual budget meeting. Thus, nonresidents who owe property taxes in an amount that equals or exceeds the minimum threshold are qualified to vote.  READ MORE – http://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/rpt/2006-R-0469.htm

Taxation Without Representation in Myrtle Beach

“Sixty-six percent (66%) of local real estate is either second-home or investor owned, so most owners have no voting rights and are ignored by local government,” said Van Hoesen. “Sadly, it’s the out-of-town buyers who fuel our local real estate market, yet they’re the ones getting soaked on taxes.’ READ MORE –  http://www.prlog.org/12010574-certifaxappraisalscom-myrtle-beach-second-home-owners-get-soaked-on-real-estate-taxes.html

Ocean City, NJ…Battle of 2nd Homeowners

Without voting power, 2nd homeowners really don’t have much in the way of rights. We may have equal protection for law enforcement, but we have no say in what happens as we have no vote. OC has exploited this for years. Taxation w/o representation is alive and well! The place would look and operate a lot differently if all taxpayers were allowed to vote.

Second home owners should have representation. They have as much of a vested interest in Ocean City as anyone else. One of the at large council seats should be appointed to represent second home owners. Second home owners still wouldn’t be able to vote but at least they’d have a voice on the governing body. I am a resident and I can vote (for all the good that does me). But I can tell you no one is going to give that to them. They’re going to have to get organized and demand representation.

I would hate to see what would happen to the poor person who tried to organize second homeowners to get representation on council. Look at the terrible things said about anyone who tries to do anything in this town. No. Just come for vacation and go home. Getting involved will ruin your time for you in ocean city. Some of the locals here are pretty mean. Things get really vicious when anyone speaks up about anything. Look at byob. Keep your head low. Venture no opinions. Just put money in the coffers. That’s all they want anyhow.

Arlington, Vermont

If the rest of Vermont, is anything like Arlington, when it comes to voter turnout, maybe it is time to give second homeowners the chance to vote. Many towns in southern Vermont have experienced the closing of retail establishments, Arlington is no exception.

Existing and longtime established full-service grocery stores, a bank, the Catholic church and the Rockwell Museum were all flourishing, as were as a dozen B&Bs, in the mid-1990s. In 2013 they have closed except for maybe two B&Bs.

Every town needs 100 percent participation, not 10 percent. Otherwise give the vote to the town’s second homeowners – they believe they have made an investment and spend time in Arlington and they pay taxes. But above all, they are interested and care about the town. So let them vote at town meeting and let’s see what level of turnout there is.  READ MORE – http://vtdigger.org/2013/03/31/keelan-allow-second-homeowners-to-vote/

Letters from Concerned Citizens in Hilton Head, SC

I know from a personal point we are considering taking our home off the rental market or selling and going to another area..if this sort of taxation continues I think the Town will kill the golden goose. If the Town does not get into a more responsible position to manage the resources they have without continuing to raise taxes, we will not see the Island we have all enjoyed over the years.

Why are non-resident property tax owners taxed so much more for school taxes when we don’t even utilize the schools? We know residents that own properties worth 3 times more than our property, and pay one third of what we are billed.

As a longtime second homeowner and real estate investor, we are already taxed at a far greater rate than local residents. If this trend continues, many of the investor owned properties could end up owned by those who will pay far less tax, and will have little need for all the affiliated services. Investor owned properties generate far more income for the area, than local residents. READ MORE –  http://bloghiltonheadrealtor.com/2012/06/20/hilton-head-sc-second-home-owners-must-take-a-stand/

 

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9 thoughts on “Brigantine Part-Timers Ponder Voting Rights”

  1. WOW! There is a lot here to absorb. It seems the Town Council needs re-evaluate the way that they allocate the budget, re-negotiate salaries, CUT the “extra” staff and tighten up other areas that can be lessened without real impact. Do MORE with LESS should be the current mantra to get through the tough times. I’ll be looking at the links provided for other ways to over-come our “taxation without representation”.

  2. Please provide contact information to the 70%-ers. As one of Brigantine’s second home owners I would like to contribute,where ever possible ,to try and get an equal voice/vote. The city, like unsuccessful businesses, believe that all you need to do is increase prices and that will cure the situation. The higher the cost (taxes) results in less people willing to pay (live in Brig) and the deeper the deficit.
    I appreciate the article and agree that we need more representation to save the city from themselves.

    1. I would also like contact info for the 70% group, as I am also a non-resident home owner. in Brigantine, as is one of my sons.
      Jim Dougherty\\

  3. Several years ago, as a representative of the Brigantine Taxpayers Association, I met with several
    other seashore communities with reference to allowing second home owners to be allowed to vote
    on issues pertinent to their communities. It was not successful for several reasons, but it is still something I might have interest in pursuing. I would appreciate information re: the 70%ers.

  4. I am also interested in obtaining more information from the 70%-ers. Can I really vote, when my primary residence is in PA? Please provide additional details.
    Thank you.

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