Madison Residents and STR Owners, the time to act is NOW!
As of mid-February 2022 the Madison Select Board (SB) have sent first and second letters to "random" Madison STR owners. According to their latest meeting, those that didn't respond to the first letter received a second letter. How, why, and what the SB's order of operations are at this point is unclear. But from the letters, we can divide up the properties receiving the letters into 3 classes: Edelweiss, Non-Eidelweiss, and STRs started after March 2022. Each of these have their own unique facts supporting why STRs are not illegal in Madison.
The SB recently submitted a request for a special warrant article to the Town of Madison Budget Advisory Committee for the sum amount of $80,000. This sum amount was specifically titled as Legal fund for STRs, essentially priming the pumps for a legal battle that the SB are bringing on themselves. The motion to put this article on the town meeting warrant passed with two members of the budget committee voting against it. The SB has cl early made their intentions: increase taxes in Madison in order to defend a potential lawsuit that they themselves are creating. Keep in mind, there could be 3-4 classes of STR lawsuits bought upon the town, each one requiring a budget of between $50-$100k drawn out over 3, 4 or 5 years.. Conway is on year 5, and it is still not over.
The SB itself is changing come March 2023. One member of the SB is not running for re-election, and we can only hope that the new person elected will bring some clear minded thinking. In the past decade, the Madison SB has been involved in four to five lawsuits, all were lost by the town costing taxpayers money.
Special warrant articles for the town don't take place at the ballot box. They are actually voted on at the deliberation portion of the town meeting, which is scheduled for Saturday March 18, 2023, at 9:00am. It's a meeting filled with deliberation from town council and the voting public. The meeting itself is open to the public, any one can speak if sponsored by the registered voters, but only registered voters can vote on the topics at hand. Historically only a small percentage of people from Madison actually attend; that is maybe 100 people. So yes, those 100 people are making the decisions for the town, hardly a representation of the Madison population. It is the end of February, and the town website doesn't even have the time or location posted yet.
We believe the SB is counting on a good turn out by the Anti-STR crowd. All they need is a majority when the $80k STR Legal Defense article comes up for vote, and it is passed, paving the way to up the taxes in Madison to pay for their battle. If it scares you, good…it should.
There are new mothers in town that want a recreation department or better fields for their kids. What about our first responders equipment? The conservation committee needs funding. Old home day could use some cash. What about the roads that are failing in areas of town? Instead, the leaders of this town are focused on creating defenseless lawsuits because of their lawyers opinion. Who wins here? The people in town? No. STR owners? No. The local economy? No. The lawyers? Yes.
So what do you do? What do STR owners do? Simple. You get people to that meeting hook or crook. You defend property rights. You stand up and tell them what you think. You get the local business owners there; the cleaners, the stores, the snow plows, the handy-man services, landscapers. You get those that can’t afford taxes going up. You bring FACTS. There are no issues with STRs in Madison; instead, a phantom problem has been created that would ultimately cost the town’s residents. Everyone should show up to vote down this $80,000 proposal! Madison is already heading towards a record tax increase; do we need to add to it for a lawsuit that will spiral into multiple class defenses for years and affect the local economy and your Tax Bill?
Get your neighbors there. Get your local business people there. Get yourself there. VOTE NO!
Madison Elementary School
March 18, 2023
Source: Mt. Washington Valley Association for Responsible Rentals on Facebook