The Community Preservation Act is a state law (MGL Chapter 44B) which allows cities and towns to establish a property tax surcharge of up to 3 percent which, along with a state match, funnels money into a locally controlled Community Preservation Fund. Under the law, Community Preservation funds may be used for open space, recreation, historic preservation and affordable housing. The first $100,000 of property valuation is exempt from the CPA surcharge. Full exemptions are available for qualifying seniors of moderate income and low-income homeowners.
Upton adopted the CPA in 2003, by a Town Meeting vote, followed by the approval of voters at the annual Town Election. The CPA can be rescinded in the same way it was passed: by Town Meeting vote, followed – at least 35 days later – by the approval of voters at the annual Town Election. However, if the CPA is repealed, any long-term project funded through a bond using CPA revenues becomes the responsibility of the Town of Upton. The renovation and rehabilitation of the Upton Town Hall is financed in this way.
By law, 10 percent of CPA funds must be reserved for each of the three main purposes: open space, historic preservation and affordable housing. The remainder or up to 70% can be spent in any of these special purpose areas or for recreational projects and facilities. Up to 5% can be used for administrative expenses. The local surcharge is expected to produce $388,000 in fiscal year 2017. In November, we received $144,368 or a 37.3% match from the state CPA Trust Fund for the last fiscal year. To date, in the last 13 years, the Town of Upton has been the recipient of $2,613,439 in matching funds. This has allowed the Town to fund, either in whole or in part, projects that otherwise would not have been considered.
A 9-member Community Preservation Committee, appointed by Selectmen and several town boards, considers all applications for CPA funding. Aside from administrative expenses, all CPA appropriations must be approved by Town Meeting vote.
The Community Preservation Committee meets the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. in the Ground Floor Conference Room at the Upton Town Hall unless otherwise posted. The CPC mailing address is Upton Town Hall, Box 6, Upton Ma 01568. For more information on the Community Preservation Act, visit www.communitypreservation.org.