Summary of Question 4
Sections 3 to 7 of Chapter 44B of the General Laws of Massachusetts, also known as the Community Preservation Act ("Act"), establish a dedicated funding source to acquire, create and preserve open space; to acquire, preserve, rehabilitate and restore historic resources; to acquire, create, preserve, rehabilitate and restore land for recreational use; to acquire, create, preserve and support community housing; and to rehabilitate and restore open space and community housing acquired or created as provided under said Act. In Great Barrington, the Act will be funded by an additional surcharge of three percent (3%) on the annual tax levy on real property and by matching funds provided by the state, to take effect beginning July 1, 2013. 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 a person who would qualify for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in the Town; (2) $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property. The surcharge to be paid by a taxpayer receiving an abatement of real property taxes authorized by chapter 59 or any other law will be reduced in proportion to such abatement. A Community Preservation Committee must be created by adoption of a Town by-law and will make recommendations on the use of the funds. Town Meeting must approve the recommendations before funds can be expended. All expenditures pursuant to the Act will be subject to an annual audit.