Residents of Martha’s Vineyard lament the lack of resources, even though the island is full of money and beds

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The playground at mighty Martha’s Vineyard lacked the resources to handle the 50 migrants who unexpectedly landed there on Wednesday, local residents told Fox News Digital over the weekend.

But real estate data and resources from the state of Massachusetts show otherwise. Island towns are full of money and plenty of extra beds to help those in need.

Edgartown, for example, has $9.8 million in free cash — a budget surplus — according to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

It would have cost just $9.1 million to give the 50 migrants their own room for an entire year at Edgartown’s chic Harbor View Hotel at $500 a night.

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Martha’s Vineyard “isn’t the best place for them to start fresh,” artist “Z” Leach told Fox News Digital on Saturday at a street fair in Oak Bluffs, a town famous for its “homes colorful Victorian gingerbread houses overlooking the ocean.

“Z” Leach, an artist from Martha’s Vineyard, told Fox News Digital on September 17, 2022 that the island “isn’t the best place for them. [the migrants] to start fresh.”
(Digital Fox News)

“There is no place to live here,” she said. “The accommodation is bad.”

“We have a major housing crisis as it is,” echoed Rachel Hines, who works for the nonprofit Vineyard Preservation Trust.

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She also helps run a new restaurant in Oak Bluffs called TigerHawk Sandwich Co.

Former President Barack Obama, right, visits Nancy's restaurant on Martha's Vineyard in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts.  The Obamas own a $12 million property in the wine town of Chilmark;  one of the lowest property tax rates in the state.

Former President Barack Obama, right, visits Nancy’s restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. The Obamas own a $12 million property in the wine town of Chilmark; one of the lowest property tax rates in the state.
(Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Martha’s Vineyard is a summer haven for the elite of Boston, New York and Washington, DC society.

The island is home to six individual towns.

He owns some of the most exclusive real estate in America. The median sale price for homes on Martha’s Vineyard this year was $1.3 million, according to state data.

Victorian gingerbread cottages are shown on Martha's Vineyard in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts in September 2012.

Victorian gingerbread cottages are shown on Martha’s Vineyard in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts in September 2012.
(John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Approximately 55.5% of homes in Martha’s Vineyard are seasonal vacation homes.

That’s the highest rate in the entire country, according to a 2019 report from the National Association of Realtors.

In other words, more than half of the houses in Martha’s Vineyard are empty for much of the year.

The migrants landed around 3 p.m. Wednesday. At 11 a.m. Friday they were shipped off the island.

The military was called in last Friday to ferry and transport the migrants – mostly Venezuelan nationals – to Joint Base Cape Cod on the Massachusetts mainland, just 44 hours after the migrants arrived at Martha’s Vineyard.

They had been flown in from Florida at the request of Governor Ron DeSantis.

The migrants landed around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

At 11 a.m. Friday they were shipped off the island.

Homeowners in Chilmark, where the Obamas have a $12 million gap, enjoy a property tax rate of 0.28%.

The migrants were housed for two nights at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown, a former whaling port that is now home to some of the most exclusive properties in the country.

Chappaquiddick, the site of the infamous 1969 bridge accident involving Senator Ted Kennedy that left Mary Jo Kopechne dead, is part of Edgartown. The median listing price for a home in Edgartown in August 2022 was $3 million.

The abundance of cash in the bank accounts for more than 21% of the city’s budget – among the highest budget surplus rates of any US community.

Edgartown is a former whaling port that has become an exclusive enclave of old, rustic New England homes and inns, including the Chappaquiddick House, overlooking the ocean.  Chappaquiddick is part of Edgartown.

Edgartown is a former whaling port that has become an exclusive enclave of old, rustic New England homes and inns, including the Chappaquiddick House, overlooking the ocean. Chappaquiddick is part of Edgartown.
(Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)

The biggest expense for most communities is on their schools, a local municipal finance expert told Fox News Digital.

But with so few year-round residents, Edgartown operates only one school for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The six municipalities on the island share a regional high school.

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With Edgartown’s property so valuable and its budget so small, its wealthy owners enjoy one of the lowest tax rates in the country. Edgartown’s fiscal year 2022 tax rate is just 0.3%, according to local data.

If an Edgartown home is valued at $1 million, the owner only pays $3,030 in property taxes.

The three lowest property tax rates in Massachusetts are all on Martha’s Vineyard: Edgartown, West Tisbury and Chilmark, where former President Obama owns $12 million.

Chilmark owners pay only $2,820 on every million dollars of assessed value, a property tax rate of 0.28%.

These cities could have quickly raised millions to meet the needs of migrants simply by changing their “incredibly low” tax rates, the Massachusetts financial expert said.

Residents of Martha's Vineyard, including resident Jeff Rose, have shared their reaction to the recent - and temporary - arrival of migrants to their island.  Rose said on September 17, 2022 that the community

Residents of Martha’s Vineyard, including resident Jeff Rose, have shared their reaction to the recent – and temporary – arrival of migrants to their island. Rose said on September 17, 2022 that the community is “helping people in need.”
(FoxNews)

The incredible wealth and tax advantages of Martha’s Vineyard coincide with a lack of racial, cultural, and political diversity on the island.

The 2020 US Census reports that 89.2% of the island’s residents are white, while only 0.5% of its population are non-US citizens.

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Residents of Martha’s Vineyard voted better than 4 to 1 for Joe Biden against Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Still, islanders are proud of how their community came together to care for 50 migrants who briefly landed on their island for 44 hours last week.

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“Our community comes together and helps people in need,” island resident Jeff Rose told Fox News Digital on Saturday.

“That has always been our mantra.”

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