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Letter from ABCDC Board of Directors Supporting the Community Preservation Act in Boston

 

Election day is 18 days away and there is one ballot question that is causing a lot of misunderstanding and we, members of the Allston Brighton CDC board of directors, would like to provide some clarification in order to set the record straight. The Allston Brighton CDC board of directors wholeheartedly supports the Community Preservation Act (CPA) for the benefits it will bring to the Allston Brighton neighborhood and city as a whole. Question 5 (CPA) will benefit Allston Brighton immensely through bringing more affordable housing (both rental and homeownership) opportunities, increase access and improvements to open and recreational spaces, and preserve historical buildings and sites. The City of Boston will receive over 20 million new dollars from the minimum surcharge allowed and a state match that can be used much more flexibly than funds the City and State now have for these activities.  CPA will allow current residents to stay in the neighborhood through rental stabilization programs and attract families who wish to establish roots in the neighborhood through affordable homeownership opportunities, reinvigorate public green and open spaces, such as the Charles River and provide funds to restore historical buildings, such as the Gardner Pilot School, Harvard Avenue Fire Station, or Allston Hall-just to name a few!

Funds for the CPA are raised through a 1% surcharge on property taxes and there seems to be some misconceptions about how these taxes are assessed and what the future implications might be for property owners. Although legislation for the tax surcharge related to CPA has a 3% tax maximum that is allowed, any increase beyond the initial 1% (the amount currently being proposed) has to go back to the voters via a referendum for approval and passage, the CPA tax surcharge cannot be raised unilaterally or just because.  There are also protections in place for elderly and low income residential homeowners so that they do not become unduly affected by the surcharge.  And the first $100,000 of value for a small business owner and residential owner is exempt.   If you want to know how much you will have to pay on your own property, you can go to this link http://cpainfo.boston.gov/ and find out.

Another provision of CPA is that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides a match for cities and towns that adopt the CPA.  Currently, the state match has been at 30%. This match is comprised from two sources: 1. Deed fees (which brings in approximately $26 million) and $10 million in “extra” payments from the state legislature. Ironically, the majority of the deed fees for the match has come from Boston real estate transactions, but because Boston is not included as one of the 161 communities that have approved the surcharge, we do not get any state money for these important activities. 

We would like to urge all of our neighbors to vote Yes on 5 this November, in support of bringing the CPA to Boston, and specifically Allston Brighton.  We believe it will bring important resources to our community, and the legislation has been created so that distribution of the funds must occur in a public, transparent decision making process.  As a member of The YES for a Better Boston Committee ABCDC intends to continue our work after the election as CPA is implemented, to ensure diversity, transparency, and accountability in this process.

For an example of CPA in action, click here to see how Cambridge, who has had the program since 2004 is using CPA to advance their housing goals: http://cambridge.wickedlocal.com/news/20160624/cpa-funding-serves-as-major-supporter-of-cambridges-affordable-housing-programs.

Tony D’isidoro   Aida Franquiz     Diane Kline         Regina Pagan     Charlie Vasilliades            Ben Hires

Alana Olsen        Marcia Chong Rosado    Gosia Tomaszewska        Brighton Lew     Galen Mook       Kate Fahey

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