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 enable cities and towns to (1) acquire, create or preserve open space, which includes land for parks, recreational uses and conservation areas, (2) rehabilitate local parks, playgrounds and athletic fields, (3) acquire, preserve or restore historic buildings and artifacts, and (4) help meet local families' housing needs.
In Salem, the funding source for these community preservation purposes will be a surcharge of 1% on the annual property tax assessed on real property, additional municipal funds that may be committed by the city council as provided in Section 3(b 1/2) of Chapter 44B, 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 Salem as defined in Section 2 of the Act; (2) $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property; and (3) $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of class three, commercial property and class four, industrial property as defined in Section 2A of Chapter 59. A taxpayer receiving a regular property tax abatement or exemption will also receive a full or partial reduction in the surcharge.
By way of example, a single family home with an assessed value of $293,900 without any exemption or abatement would be surcharged approximately $30.31 per year if accepted by the City of Salem (Source: City Assessor based on average single family home value and FY12 tax rate of $15.63 per $1000).
Upon acceptance of the Act by the voters, a Community Preservation Committee will be established by ordinance to study community preservation needs, possibilities and resources, and to make annual recommendations to the City Council for approval on spending the funds.