The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 31, 2008

Carlisle receives $250,303 in CPA matching funds

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) on October 15 gave Carlisle a grant of $250,303 in a 67.6% match of the $370,160 collected by the local real estate tax surcharge authorized under the Community Preservation Act (CPA). This was the first year since disbursements began in 2002 that the state was unable to provide a 100% match of local CPA revenues. The DOR is predicting that the “match” may fall to about 35% next year. Since 2002 the town has received a total of $1,817,038 in CPA matching grants from the state.

The state contribution is dropping, as more towns compete for shrinking funds. This year, 127 towns are participating in the CPA program, up from 113 last year (see table on page 4), while in November voters in eight more towns will decide whether to join the program.

The funding for the DOR matching grants comes from fees collected at the Registry of Deeds and Land Court. Less money is collected as the real estate market declines.

DOR gives extra to towns with 3% surcharge

Some towns continued to receive up to 100% match because, after giving the initial match, DOR followed provisions in the CPA legislation and gave an additional round of funding to those towns which had adopted the maximum CPA tax surcharge of 3%. About $4.5 million was distributed by DOR in the second round, after $50 million in round one. Carlisle had adopted a 2% surcharge and therefore was not involved in the second round of funding.

Town Meeting votes spending

The expenditure of CPA money is restricted to open space preservation, community affordable housing, preservation of historic buildings and landscapes, and public recreation. At least 10% of the annual revenue must be reserved for each of the first three purposes, while the remaining 70% may be spent on any type of qualifying project. Spending requests are evaluated by the town’s Community Preservation Committee and recommendations are brought to Town Meeting for approval.

Money on hand

According to Town Treasurer Larry Barton, Carlisle has over a million dollars in CPA funds available for use for qualifying projects. There is $280,666 in the Community Housing Fund, $256,166 in the Historic Fund, and $579,307 in the Undesignated Fund. The Open Space Fund balance is zero, since it is being used to pay for the Benfield Land, purchased by the town in 2004. In addition, there is $239,446 in the FY09 Budget Reserve appropriation. If unspent, Barton explains that this last amount will flow into the Undesignated Fund next July 1 at the end of FY09. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito