Summary of Question 4
Sections 3 to 7 of Chapter 44B of the General Laws of Massachusetts, also known as the Community Preservation Act (the "Act"), establish a dedicated funding source to enable cities and towns to: (1) acquire, create, and preserve open space, which includes conservation areas and land for the protection of public drinking water supplies; (2) acquire, preserve, rehabilitate, and restore historic resources; (3) acquire, create, preserve, rehabilitate, and restore land for recreational uses, which includes parks, playgrounds, and athletic fields; (4) acquire, create, preserve, and support community housing; and (5) rehabilitate and restore open space and community housing acquired as provided in the Act.
In the Town of Somerset, the funding sources for these community preservations purposes will be a surcharge of one per cent (1%) on the annual property tax assessed on real property commencing in the fiscal year 2014 and annual distributions made by the state from a trust fund created by the Act. If approved, the following will be exempt from the surcharge: (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 an exemption of real property authorized by chapter 59 of the Massachusetts General Laws or any other law shall be exempt from any surcharge established under chapter 44B, section 3, of said General Laws. The surcharge to be paid by a taxpayer receiving an abatement of real property pursuant to said chapter 59 or any other law shall be reduced in proportion to the amount of such abatement.
A Community Preservation Committee will be established by by-law to study community preservation resources, possibilities and needs to make annual recommendations to the Town Meeting on spending the funds. At least ten per cent (10%) of the funds for each fiscal year will be spent or reserved for later spending on each of the Act's three community preservations purposes: (1) open space; (2) historic resources; and (3) community housing.
If a majority of the voters voting on the ballot question vote in the affirmative, then its provisions shall take effect in the town, but not otherwise.