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 Community Preservation Act

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Dave
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PostCommunity Preservation Act

Quote :
By George Morse (Seekonk Star)

SEEKONK - The town may have just defeated a debt exclusion that would have cost about $40 a year and now a few citizens want to head back to the polls in April to ask for $29 a year.
On Monday night, John Alves, of River Street, appeared before the Seekonk Board of Selectmen to make a presentation of the Community Preservation Act (CPA). Mr. Alves is part of a citizen group currently circulating a petition to get the CPA on the ballot for the upcoming town elections on April 6.

Mr. Alves said the CPA would not require a 2.5 override and could be funded with a cost to the average homeowner of $29 a year.
Last April, the town defeated a CPA measure by a margin of 824 against to 774 in favor. Like the vote from last year, a number of residents and town officials spoke in opposition to the measure.

Christine Allen said that while it’s nice to want open spaces and “hear splashing water,” it’s no time to put $29 onto already burdened taxpayers. She added that while Massachusetts has previously matched CPA funds above 50 percent, the state is only required to match 5 percent. Despite speaking out against a $29 increase for the CPA, Ms. Allen serves on the building committee that recently pushed for an average increase of $44 a year to fund a new community center.

Selectman Robert Richardson said that while he agrees with the CPA in principal, it’s not the right time to come out with it, not with the economy the way it is and unemployment figures as high as they are.

“To add $29 to a tax bill, it could break somebody,” Mr. Richardson said.
All Mr. Alves was looking for from the selectmen though was an endorsement to send the CPA to the April ballot, something the town’s planning board recently issued.

The selectmen voted 3-1 to endorse the issue heading to the polls while not endorsing the act itself. Mr. Richardson voted in opposition and Selectmen John Whelan wasn’t present at the meeting.

A state law since 2000, the CPA enables cities and towns to establish a dedicated fun for the protection of open space, preservation of historic places and creation of recreational facilities and community housing. Funds for the CPA are generated by a surcharge on local property taxes and matched with dedicated state funding to create a local community preservation fund. Once established, 10 percent of this fund must be annually dedicated to each of three core areas – open space preservation, historic preservation and affordable community houses. The remaining percentage can be spent or reserved for future spending in any of the areas, as well as additional areas for outdoor recreation like ball fields or trails.

A citizen group pushing for a CPA ballot measure, which includes Mr. Alves, is currently circulating a petition that provides for a 1.25 percent surcharge on property tax bills, with low income families and low and moderate income seniors receiving an exemption. Also, the first $100,000 of residential property value is exempt.

On average, this will represent about a contribution of $29 per household.
There are 140 communities currently involved with the CPA. This past November, seven out of seven communities were added to this figure. These towns have completed projects such as creating community farms, protecting wetlands, restoring wildlife habitats, refurbishing historic buildings and developing housing plans.
For more information, visit www.cpaseekonk.org.


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Community Preservation Act :: Comments

Re: Community Preservation Act
Post on Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:34 am  seek2mend
If anyone has trouble with the CPA link Dave posted, Tony from the finance committee posted a file from MGL at seekonktalk, unmoderated. It is, I believe, the definitive document without all the BS. If you really want to know what you are signing on to, please take the time to read.

And keep in mind that, according to the infommercial on channel 9, this chapter does have proposed amendments before the legislature. I guess everytime a change is made, we will have to abide by these changes.

To access files at Seekonktalk, unmoderated, you will have to become a member. But if it makes you feel dirty, you can immediately quit and take a real hot shower!! Twisted Evil
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Re: Community Preservation Act
Post on Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:47 am  Dave
Just noticed that the link (which was to unmoderated) is no longer working- I will try and get it into my 4shared folder and rebuild a direct link.

I do have mixed feelings on this issue. I would really like to see someone from the CPA post a few notes on what short term goals they have for the Town. I cringe when I see older properties let go to the point that a developers bulldozer is the only solution left.

If I read some of the articles availalbe right our share of the pie is dictated by the local organizations efforts. Have your "act" (no pun intended) together and you should get more monies to invest into the town than is taken from residents.

I think for some people, or at least me, a major determining factor on the vote, is...what are you ready to spend CPA funds on?
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Re: Community Preservation Act
Post on Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:11 am  terrybohax
I got the impression that this fund would have to grow over several years before we could actually do, build, buy or improve something in Seekonk. Did others get that impression?
Re: Community Preservation Act
Post on Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:52 am  seek2mend
Terry, another concern that was brought up at the fincomm meeting was that according to Chapter 44b, section 11:

"A city or town that accepts sections 3 to 7, inclusive, may issue, from time to time, general obligation bonds or notes in anticipation of revenues to be raised pursuant to section 3, the proceeds of which shall be deposited in the Community Preservation Fund."

My interpretation is this fund could put us on the hook for several years.

As for Daves interest in knowing the goals, no one from the group endorsing the CPA can answer that. If passed, a bylaw must be created that will determine the number of members and then appointments will be made based on that bylaw. This yet to be formed committee will make recommendations at TM, where the final decision will be made. Hopefully, someone will correct me if I am wrong.
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Re: Community Preservation Act
Post on Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:55 pm  mkreyssig
I think that sums it up seek
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A nine member CPA committee?
Post on Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:25 pm  terrybohax
Did anyone else catch the Monday eve. Selectmen's meeting? I caught the latter part of it. I think they decided on a 9 member CPA Committee. I do hope they select a good FRESH variety of people who will represent not only land conservation but historic building preservation and the other options for the fund.
Mr. McLintock seemed interested in the committee and spoke in favor of having 9 members. Excuse me for being a little cynical..... but I can't help but wonder if that will be his next 'cause celebre' to latch onto, after he leaves the School Committee.
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Re: Community Preservation Act
Post on Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:16 pm  terrybohax
Mr. Brady and Mr. Richardson were wondering on their cable show whether the CPA sur-tax would have to be billed on a separate tax bill and would be paid separately, or would be incorporated on the current property tax bill.
I just wanted to say that in another Southeastern MA town, the CPA is broken out as a separate entry on the existing property tax bill but only one check is needed to pay the total.
I hope Seekonk can provide the same accounting so we don't have double printing and mailing costs for the CPA surtax and property tax.
Re: Community Preservation Act
Post on Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:27 am  seek2mend
At first thought, Terry, I would agree with you. But if you listened to the fincomm meeting Tuesday, Tony made a strong argument that it should be a seperate bill. I guess it could be mailed with one of the quarterly property tax bills.

The point I think he was trying to make was that it might be a strong reminder of the cost of staying home on election day.

As Tony mentioned, there are many residents who never look at their bill because the bank collects the taxes and then pays the town.

I have to agree with Tony. The voter needs a wake up call. But given the direction the BOS has taken regarding polling places, I think they prefer the voter's to remain comotous.
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Re: Community Preservation Act
Post on Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:53 pm  terrybohax
I rarely catch the FinComm meetings. I guess it's OK to bill the CPA separately - I just don't want to see extra printing, mailing and check processing costs incurred by the town to collect money for the CPA who will not reimburse the town. But the town will most likely have to set up a new billing and collection system for the CPA, won't they? What happens if one does not pay their CPA tax?
Just posing some questions - food for thought... Question
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Re: Community Preservation Act
Post on Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:29 pm  mkreyssig
terrybohax wrote:
I rarely catch the FinComm meetings. I guess it's OK to bill the CPA separately - I just don't want to see extra printing, mailing and check processing costs incurred by the town to collect money for the CPA who will not reimburse the town. But the town will most likely have to set up a new billing and collection system for the CPA, won't they? What happens if one does not pay their CPA tax?
Just posing some questions - food for thought... Question


That's actually been suggested....I don't know....
Re: Community Preservation Act
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