Friday, February 26, 2010
Fate of Community Preservation Act considered
Carlisle adds a 2% surcharge to property tax bills as part of the Community Preservation Act (CPA) program. Treasurer Larry Barton said that this amounts to about $190 per household. At this time, there is a 29% match given to the town by the state. The surcharge and matching money is at the disposal of the town and voted at Town Meeting for a specific range of projects authorized by the CPA. Permitted uses include historic preservation, community housing, open space preservation and public recreation. At this time, projects of interest are refurbishment of the Bog House, plans for stabilizing Highland School and servicing the debt of the Benfield Farms land purchase (see article above).
The fate of the CPA was discussed at the February 23 Selectmen’s meeting. Further discussion and decisions will be made at their next meeting on March 9. Several options are being considered and may result in a Warrant Article for the Annual Town Meeting: (1) Leave the status quo. (2) Scale it back – perhaps retain the 2% for one year, drop to 1% for next year and drop to 0% for the next year. (3) Make no change but ask the Town Meeting for “sense of the meeting” on whether commitment to the CPA authorization should be reconsidered.
Chair Tim Hult explained that, given the cost for school construction that the town is facing, he felt that the Selectmen should “allow the town to revisit CPA” although he does not favor reducing it. He said, “This is like a savings account and permits us to plan more smoothly.” Hult suggested a “robust discussion” on March 9.
Planning Board Chair David Freedman speaking as an individual said, “I haven’t heard a ground swell from the community to get rid of it.” He suggested no change but asking Town Meeting for a sense of the town on the topic.
Alan Carpenito (South Street) said, “Carlisle is facing a 6% unemployment rate. We have to look at any savings.” (See related article, page 5.)
Jay Luby (Woodbine Road) said, “I endorse what Freedman said. We’ve received $1.9 million of state funds over eight years. It would be difficult to get it reinstated – 29% is a very nice reason to retain it.” ∆
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