Summary of Question 4
The Community Preservation Act (hereinafter "the Act") establishes a dedicated funding source to enable cities and towns to: (1) acquire, create and preserve open space, including land for parks, recreational uses and conservation areas; (2) acquire, preserve, rehabilitate, and restore historic resources, such as historic community buildings and artifacts; (3) acquire, create, preserve, rehabilitate and restore land for recreational use, including parks, playgrounds and athletic fields; (4) acquire, create, preserve and support community housing to help meet local families' housing needs; and (5) rehabilitate or restore open space and community housing that is acquired or created as provided in this section.
In the City of Somerville, the funding source for these community preservation purposes will be a surcharge of 1.5% on the annual property tax assessed on real property beginning in Fiscal Year 2014, other local funds committed by the Board of Aldermen for community preservation purposes subject to the limitations in Section 3(b)1/2 of Chapter 44B, and annual distributions made by the state from a trust fund created by the Act. The Commonwealth provides these funds only to communities adopting 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 Somerville 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 3, commercial property and class 4, industrial property as defined in Section 2A of Chapter 59. A taxpayer receiving a regular property tax abatement or exemption will also receive a pro rata reduction in the surcharge.
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 Board of Aldermen for approval on spending the funds. 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, (2) historic resources and (3) community housing.
In the City of Somerville