Summary of Question 5
Sections 3 to 7 of Chapter 44B of the General Laws of Massachusetts, also known as the "Community Preservation Act" (hereinafter "CPA"), establishes a dedicated funding source to enable the Town to: (1) acquire or preserve open space, and rehabilitate or create local parks, playgrounds and athletic fields; (2) preserve or restore historic resources and artifacts; and (3) help meet local families' housing needs. In the Town of Arlington, the Community Preservation Act will be funded by a surcharge of 1.5% on the annual property tax assessed on real property, subject to the exemptions below, beginning in fiscal year 2016, and by annual distributions from a trust fund provided by the state under the CPA. The Commonwealth provides distributions from the fund only to communities adopting the CPA.
If approved, the following will be exempt from the surcharge: (1) $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property; (2) 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; 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 said 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 CPA by the voters, a Community Preservation Committee must be established by by-law to study community preservation needs, possibilities and resources, and to make annual recommendations to Town Meeting 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, such as parks and playgrounds (2) historic resources and (3) community housing in the Town of Arlington.