A Brief History of Eastham Part-Time Residents Taxpayers Association

The Eastham Part-time Residents Taxpayers Association was established in the mid 1960’s and is the oldest part-time resident taxpayer association on the Outer Cape. In the 1960’s a group of Eastham part-time resident taxpayers became interested in obtaining the right to vote on fiscal matters in the Town. They formed a group known as The Eastham Non-Resident Taxpayers Association that was legally incorporated in 1973. This group was later renamed and incorporated as the Eastham Part-Time Resident Taxpayers Association.

The focus of the organization was the "taxation without representation" status that exists in Massachusetts. In Eastham, part-time resident taxpayers were not only denied the right to vote at Town meetings but were also not permitted to speak at Town Meetings or to serve on Town Boards. Because of this "closed door" situation, the part-time resident taxpayers who were interested in becoming more active in helping to make Eastham a better place to live, felt that they were being kept "on the outside looking in". They had no voice in Town affairs though they were paying a significant part of the Town's taxes. EPRTA’s effort to obtain voting rights for part-time resident taxpayers on non-elective issues at Town Meetings were unsuccessful when a bill to do so, introduced by Representative Edward Connelly, who was also a part-time resident of North Eastham, failed to get legislative approval in 1981. These efforts remain unsuccessful.

Since the 1980's EPRTA has kept members informed of town activities. Cooperation with the Town continues to improve with the mutual realization that in many areas the part-time and full- time residents have a common interest in keeping taxes low and preserving the unique beauty of Eastham.

In 1991 the Town of Eastham approved a Home Rule Charter that created the position of Town Administrator (now Town Manager) with broad powers and duties as the chief administrative officer of the town. The charter provided for "a Town meeting open to all voters" but did not contain any residency or voter requirements for any of the towns' appointed officers, committee members or employees. As a result of this new charter, many EPRTA members have been appointed to Eastham Boards and committees.

EPRTA remains committed to providing input to Town affairs and working for the right of part-time residents to have equal speaking rights at the annual Town Meeting. We will continue to be your voice to the Town of Eastham Select Board and Town government.