Summary of Question 4
Sections 3 to 7 of Chapter 44B of the General Laws of Massachusetts, also known as the Community Preservation Act, establishes a dedicated funding source to acquire and preserve open space, parks and conservation land, protect public drinking water supplies, and scenic areas, protect farm land and forests from future development, restore and preserve historic properties, and help meet local families' housing needs.
In Canton, the Community Preservation Act will be funded by an additional excise of 1% on the annual tax levy on real property to be assessed beginning in fiscal year 2014, and by annual distributions provided by the state. The following exemptions from such surcharge, permitted under Section 3(e) of the Act, will apply: (1) 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 and (2) $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property. A taxpayer receiving a regular property tax abatement or exemption will also receive a pro rata reduction in surcharge.
A Community Preservation Committee will be established by by-law to study community preservation resources, possibilities and needs will make annual recommendations on the use of the funds. The Town Meeting must approve any such recommendation before funds can be expended, and at least 10% of the funds for each fiscal year will be spent or reserved for later spending on each of the Act's three community preservation purposes: (1) open space (excluding land for recreational use), (2) historic resources and (3) community housing. All expenditures pursuant to the Act will be subject to an annual audit.