We Need Them - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1695830

We Need Them

There is a lot of comment lately from local residents and politicians about non-residents coming out to avoid the city or some other place of residence where the coronavirus is more active. God forbid they should want to improve their chances to live!

One reader on your site recently commented on how happy he was that all the overpriced restaurants are closed, so, hopefully, the city people won’t come out! I don’t disagree that there are too many expensive restaurants, but I assume he does not work in one of those overpriced restaurants!

I think it would be interesting to put in perspective the relationship between locals and non-residents who have houses in the Hamptons. I would be curious what would happen to the economy if all second-home owners were prevented from coming out, workers were prevented from working at non-resident homes, and no further real estate taxes would be owed by owners who were not allowed to visit/use their homes!

I have to think that the bulk of income that supports the towns and villages comes from the real estate taxes that non-residents pay on their very expensive, overpriced homes, especially the part that goes to the schools — which they don’t use!

Then there is the lost revenue from businesses that service second homes: i.e., gardening, landscaping, pest control, swimming pool, etc. (all business that I think can continue even during this crisis!). We all complain about the traffic heading east in the morning and west in the evening, even offseason. But I think most of that traffic is servicing overpriced second homes! We can eliminate that traffic by making it illegal to service second homes! Let them cut their own grass and do their own repairs!

Then there are, of course, the overpriced restaurants that are closed, so those workers have no jobs, and, obviously, there is the lack of sales tax, since nothing is being sold; that, I am sure, is disproportionately paid by second-home owners, who spend more per person than I would imagine locals do. I am guessing that most of the local village stores and businesses depend on non-residents!

So, bottom line, I’d be curious to see what the actual contribution of second-home owners is, compared to the disadvantages they cause. And let’s not forget that the politicians who are upset about all these non-residents coming out to use the homes they pay taxes for, etc., do not get to vote for them. Perhaps that is why it is so easy to criticize them!

Robert Hertzka

Water Mill


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