Pepperell joins efforts to protect valuable resources

Pepperell became the latest community to pass the Community Preservation Act, with voters in Monday’s mayoral election approving the measure by a solid margin of 637 to 438.

Passed by the state legislature in 2000, 189 communities across the state have now said yes to the CPA.

Through a local tax surtax and statewide trust fund contribution, it will provide Pepperell with funding to help protect open spaces, including recreation, historic preservation and affordable housing.

“These funds would support our city’s goals of affordable housing, open space preservation, recreation and historic preservation each year as voters choose at city hall which CPA projects are a priority for them,” said the president. of the board, Margaret Scarsdale, before the vote.

Owners will now have to pay an additional 1% on their tax bill. In future years, increasing this surcharge, which is capped at 3%, would require an affirmative vote in the municipal assembly.

According to Mathews and the Community Preservation Coalition, the first $100,000 of property value would also be exempt from surtax calculations.

For Pepperell, with a property tax of $17.15 per $1,000 of assessment for fiscal year 2022, a property assessed at $300,000 would pay $34.30 more per year.

The state’s Community Preservation Trust Fund would later match these local funds with repayments that vary, depending on state revenue and each community’s surtax percentage. Originally dollar-for-dollar reimbursements, the state contribution is now around 20%.

Pepperell will now create a Community Preservation Trust, which will make recommendations to the city on how these funds should be allocated. Ultimately, any use of that money would also require a vote of the town assembly.

According to the Community Preservation Act Coalition, 244 Massachusetts communities voted to adopt the CPA. Of these, 189 communities – more than half of the municipalities in the state – have adopted the CPA, which corresponds to an acceptance rate of 77%.

It’s no coincidence that suburban and rural communities – with far more land to preserve than their urban counterparts – make up more than 80% of ACP membership.

Neighboring Ayer provides a compelling reason why this is the case.

Ayer entered the ground floor of the CPA in 2001, a year after his passage, opting for the maximum surcharge of 3%.

Since then, APC funding has helped pay for a community garden, dog park, restoration of fire department photo archives, repairs and improvements to City Hall, greenway projects and Habitat for Humanity, upgrades to Page Hilltop Elementary School, Pirone Park and a major makeover at Sandy Pond Beach.

In Dracut, another local community that embraced the CPA early on, its 2% assessment has provided funds for open space projects like Beaver Brook Farm, as well as recreation, affordable housing and historic preservation since its accession in 2001.

With more than $2 million in his coffers, Ayer’s total CPA revenue so far — from surtaxes and state match percentages — is more than $5.2 million. dollars, according to the coalition.

The cities of Harvard and Groton are also longtime CPA partners, having signed on in 2001 and 2004 respectively.

Starting at 1%, Harvard, which now has a 3% CPA surcharge, took in more than $5.2 million in CPA funds.

Groton’s total tally, with an extra 3% and a larger population than Ayer or Harvard, rose to 14.4 million.

Being a member of this conservation club will help Pepperell become a better steward of the city’s natural resources.

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