Summary of Question 4
Acceptance of Sections 3 to 7 of Chapter 44B of the General Laws of Massachusetts, also known as the Community Preservation Act (the "Act"), would establish a dedicated funding source to enable the Town of Lenox to: (1) create affordable housing; (2) acquire and restore historic buildings and sites; and (3) acquire open space, which includes land for park and recreational uses and the protection of public drinking water well fields, aquifers and recharge areas wetlands, farm land, forests, marshes, beaches, scenic areas, wildlife preserves and other conservation areas.
In the Town of Lenox, the funding source for these community preservation purposes would be a surcharge on the annual property tax assessed on real property and annual distributions made by the state from a trust fund created by the Act. If approved, the following would be exempt from the surcharge: (1) $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential property; and (2) property owned and occupied as a domicile by any person who qualifies for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in the town, as defined in Section 2 of said Act. The surcharge, on that portion not exempted, would be three percent (3%) on the annual property tax on real property. A taxpayer receiving a regular property tax abatement or exemption would also receive a pro rata reduction in the surcharge.
If the Act is accepted, a Community Preservation Committee would be established by a Town bylaw to study community preservation resources, possibilities and needs and to make annual recommendations to Town Meeting on spending the funds. At least 10 percent of the funds for each fiscal year would be spent or reserved for later spending on each of the Act's three community preservation purposes: (1) affordable housing (2) historic resources, and (3) open space (excluding land for recreational use).
If a majority of the voters voting on said question vote in the affirmative, then its provisions shall take effect in the Town, but not otherwise.