The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 23, 2009

Carlisle receives $114,381 in CPA matching funds

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) has given Carlisle $114,381 in a 34.8% match of funds raised last year by the town through the 2% real estate tax surcharge authorized under the Community Preservation Act (CPA). Since 2002, the town has received a total of $1,931,419 in CPA matching grants from the state.

Match shrinks for most towns

During the first several years of the CPA program, DOR was able to provide dollar for dollar matching grants to all participating communities. Starting last year, the match shrank as state revenues backing the grants declined at the same time that more towns joined the program (see table, page 4). Towns that voted to adopt a 3% CPA tax surcharge are eligible for additional funding, and this year eight towns received a 100% match.

The state CPA match is funded by fees collected at the Registry of Deeds and Land Court, and less money has been collected in recent years as the real estate market slowed. There are currently 135 towns in the program, eight more than last year. According to information on (Community Preservation Act State Matching Funds) the DOR estimates next year’s match level to be at about 28% of local CPA receipts, assuming that another seven towns join the program and that real estate transactions and Registry of Deeds fee collections remain flat.

CPA spending

CPA funds may be used for several types of projects: preservation of historic structures and landscapes, preservation of open space, public recreation and community housing. At least 10% of the annual CPA revenue must be set aside for housing, historic and open space preservation, while the remaining 70% is available for any qualifying project. Applications are evaluated by the town’s Community Preservation Committee (CPC), a group which includes representatives from the Housing Authority, Historic Commission, Recreation Commission, Conservation Commission, Board of Selectmen and Planning Board as well as one at-large member. Projects endorsed by the CPC are brought to Town Meeting for final approval.

Last May, Town Meeting approved $775,000 in CPA funding to restore Gleason Library, $445,000 in repairs to the Highland Building and $16,610 for an update to the town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan. ∆


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