Community Preservation Act
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a state law designed to help communities to preserve and sustain community character and quality of life. The CPA allows towns to levy a community-wide property tax surcharge of up to 3 percent for the purpose of creating a local Community Preservation Fund that can qualify for state matching funds. The Fund must be used to acquire and protect open space, preserve historic buildings and landscapes, to acquire / create / preserve / rehabilitate / restore land for recreational use, and create and maintain affordable housing.
At the March 21, 2005 Special Town Meeting, the Town overwhelming voted to replace the existing Cape Cod Open Space Land Acquisition Program with the Community Preservation Act.
The Community Preservation Act provides new funding sources which can be used to address four core community concerns:
- Acquisition, creation and preservation of open space
- Acquisition, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of historic resources
- Acquisition, creation, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of land for recreational use
- Acquisition, creation, preservation and support of community housing
A minimum of 10% of the annual revenues of the fund must be used for each of the three core community concerns, and up to 5% may be used for administrative expenses of the Community Preservation Committee. The remaining funds can be allocated for any combination of the allowed uses, or for land for recreational use. This gives each community the opportunity to determine its priorities, plan for its future, and have the funds to make those plans happen.
Property taxes traditionally fund the day-to-day operating needs of safety, health, schools, roads, maintenance - and more. But until the CPA, there was no steady funding source for preserving and improving a community's quality of life and character. The Community Preservation Act can give a community the funds needed to control its future.