Friday, March 23, 2001
Community Preservation Act surcharge capped at 2%
The Selectmen turned down a recommendation by town counsel Paul DeRensis to remove the amount of the tax surcharge, currently 2% of assessed property value, from the Warrant Article for the Community Preservation Act (CPA), to be presented at a Special Town Meeting April 10. As it stands, town moderator Sarah Brophy will be unable to entertain a motion from the floor to raise the amount of the surcharge above 2 %. The CPA allows the town to levy a tax surcharge to build a fund for conservation, housing and preservation. The town also becomes eligible for state matching funds.
DeRensis suggested the amount of surcharge be removed along with the recommended exclusions for the first $100,000 of assessed value and low income status. This would allow voters to amend the surcharge up to the maximum of 3%. At 3% Carlisle will be eligible for 100% in state matching funds.
Selectman Mike Fitzgerald held firm. "Our recommendation is 2%. It's our Warrant and we should recommend it the way we want to." Fitzgerald went on to say the selectmen need to show leadership and promote fiscal restraint. He added, "The CPA has a greater chance of succeeding at the 2% level. My fear is the surcharge will be increased at Town Meeting, then go down at the ballot box."
Town moderator Sarah Brophy reminded the selectmen that "I can't entertain a motion to increase above 2% if it's [specified] in the Article." She could, however, allow a motion which would reduce the surcharge.
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