Friday, February 5, 1999
Land preservation fund legislation on agenda again
At the selectmen's meeting on January 26, proposed state legislation which would offer communities alternative ways to fund land preservation was once again on the agenda. Selectman Vivian Chaput described the proposed Community Preservation Act which would allow each town to tack a surcharge onto real estate tax bills to pay for land acquisition, affordable housing or other community initiatives. The proposed legislation would not allow communities to impose a transfer tax on the sale of real estate, an option which was defeated in the state legislature in the last incarnation of the current bill.
Paul DeRensis, Carlisle's new town counsel who was present at the selectmen's meeting and who has had some input into the pending legislation, fleshed out some of the details of the bill. DeRensis said that the bill, which has more than 40 sponsors in the House, would allow communities to impose a surcharge of not more than three percent of the property tax bill. The surcharge would be allowed over and above the two-and-a-half percent levy limit increase. Whether a community imposes the surcharge and how the surcharge is spent would be determined in a manner similar to a Proposition 2 1/2 override; that is, the surcharge would require a town meeting vote and an election.
Chaput floated the idea of whether the town should send a message of support for the proposed legislation with a non-binding Warrant article. After discussion, the selectmen decided that a Warrant article for the upcoming Town Meeting could be distracting to voters in light of the municipal land committee's anticipated article allowing the issuance of serial bonds to pay for major land acquisition. Chaput agreed to keep abreast of the progress of the bill.
O'Rourke on agenda again
The town's latest land acquisition, O'Rourke Farm, was also on the agenda again. The selectmen approved a confirmatory order of taking to clear up a title matter before transfer of the property to the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife. According to Greg Peterson, who has been helping the selectmen on this issue, the title insurance company for the U.S. recommended the taking to clarify the chain of title on a five-acre parcel no one has been able to locate but at one time was believed to be part of the O'Rourke Farm.
Selectman Doug Stevenson reported that two more hurdles remain before the transfer to the U.S. First, a detailed survey of the property will be made at the buyer's expense. Second, negotiations on the water rights boundaries need to be complete. Stevenson expects the transfer to take place at the end of March.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito