It has been long said that politics makes strange bedfellows. While true, every now and then the pursuit of smart public policy and shared mutual objectives brings together interests not normally seen as aligned with one another to pursue a big idea. Now is such a time on Cape Cod.
Four very different organizations, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC), Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS? (CCIAOR), and Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC), have come together out of a shared belief that the future of Cape Cod depends heavily on infrastructure improvements and community investment for future economic stability and environmental improvement. The 4 organizations see now as the perfect time for local government to establish infrastructure banks and direct resources to long-term community investment. Collectively we are asking all 15 Cape towns to adopt a local bylaw this spring directing at least 50% of the local option rooms excise tax to a discrete stabilization fund, earmarking that revenue for housing, wastewater management, broadband, transportation, and competitive marketing of Cape Cod. Making long-term investments will dictate the economic viability and sustainability of Cape Cod and defer the use of property tax revenues for these needed projects, saving Cape Codders money.
Part of the impetus for this initiative is the unusual opportunity for towns to take advantage of a new revenue source provided by legislation at the end of 2108. More broadly though, and perhaps more encouraging, is that our 4 organizations have come to realize that many of our interests are better served by coordinating our efforts than by seeking our own objectives in a vacuum. In APCC’s case, our pursuit of water quality improvement is not a zero sum game where the environment can only improve at the expense of housing and economic interests. Collectively we stand to improve water quality more quickly and at lower cost by working with, not against, our partners.
At a time when people seem to spend more time shouting at one another, good work is being done on hard issues through collaboration and discussion. More to come. Stay tuned.