Summary of Question 4
Sections 3 through 7 of Chapter 44 of the General Laws, also known as the Community Preservation Act (the "Act"), establish a dedicated funding source to enable cities and towns to acquire, create and preserve open space; to acquire, preserve, rehabilitate and restore historic resources; to acquire, create and preserve land for recreational use; to acquire, create , preserve and support community housing; to rehabilitate or restore open space, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created as provided in the Act; and to set aside for later spending funds for specific purposes or general purposes that are consistent with community preservation.
There would be a surcharge on real property of one and one-half percent (1.5%) of the real estate tax levy against real property, as determined annually by the Board of Assessors. There would be two (2) exemptions from such surcharge: 1) for property owned and occupied as a domicile by a person who would qualify for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing, as defined in Section 2 of the Act, in the Town of Milton; and (2) for one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property in the Town of Milton. A taxpayer receiving an exemption of real property authorized by law shall be exempt from any surcharge on real property established by the Act. The surcharge to be paid by a taxpayer receiving an abatement of real property authorized by law shall be reduced in proportion to the amount of such abatement.
Any amount of the surcharge not paid by the due date shall bear interest at the annual rate provided by applicable law. The remedies provided by law for the collection of taxes upon real estate shall apply to said surcharge on real property.
A Community Preservation Committee, consisting of not less than five (5) and not more than nine (9) members, would be established by by-law. The Committee shall study the needs, possibilities and resources of the Town of Milton regarding community preservation, shall consult with Milton boards in conducting such studies, shall hold one or more public informational meetings, and shall make recommendations to Town Meeting for any of the foregoing community preservation purposes, including their anticipated costs.
The funding source for the foregoing community preservation purposes would be a Community Preservation Fund, of which the Town Treasurer would be the custodian. The following monies would be deposited into that Fund: a) all funds collected from the real property surcharge or bond proceeds in anticipation of revenue pursuant to the Act; b) all funds received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any other source for the purposes of the Act; and c) proceeds from the disposal of real property acquired with funds from the Community Preservation Fund. Only Town Meeting may approve expenditures from the Community Preservation Fund. The expenditure of funds from the Community Preservation Fund shall be limited to implementing the recommendations of the Community Preservation Committee, to providing administrative and operating expenses to that Committee, and to appropriating money to an affordable housing trust fund.
In every fiscal year, and upon the recommendation of the Community Preservation Committee, Town Meeting shall spend, or set aside for later spending, not less than ten (10%) percent of the annual revenues in the Community Preservation Fund: for open space, but not including land for recreational use, not less than ten (10%) percent of the annual revenues in the Community Preservation Fund for historic resources, and not less than ten (10%) percent of the annual revenues in the Community Preservation Fund for community housing. Appropriations in any fiscal year from the Community Preservation Fund for administrative and operating expenses of the Community Preservation Committee shall not exceed five (5%) percent of the annual revenues in that Fund. Funds spent from the Community Preservation Fund shall not replace existing operating funds, only augment them. The Town of Milton may appropriate money in any year from the Community Preservation Fund to an affordable housing trust fund.