The Community Preservation Act
The Community Preservation Act (CPA), M.G.L. Chapter 44B, was adopted by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Cellucci in September 2000. The CPA allows any city or town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to adopt a property tax surcharge of up to 3%, the revenues from which are matched by State funds.
The combined money from these two sources are used for the following purposes:
- Acquire, create and preserve open space
- Acquire and preserve historic resources
- Acquire, create, and preserve land for recreation use
- Acquire, create, preserve, and support community housing
CPA funds enable the Town to undertake projects (with State matching funds) in these areas that would otherwise have been paid for with 100% local tax dollars and also to fund projects that the Town might otherwise have been unable to undertake or that would have required Proposition 2 1/2 overrides (e.g. open space acquisition, construction of affordable housing).
The CPA in Hamilton
The citizens of Hamilton voted to adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA) on May 12, 2005. This program creates a 2% surcharge on real estate taxes for all residences and businesses, with exemptions for the first $100,000 of residential property value and property owned and occupied by any person who qualifies for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing. This surcharge is then matched by a state fund.
At the Annual Town Meeting on May 2, 2005, voters approved a Town Bylaw creating the nine member Hamilton Community Preservation Committee (CPC). Made up of nine residents with a range of expertise across the project areas, the CPC is charged with studying the Town's needs, possibilities and resources with respect to the community preservation purposes and making recommendations to Town Meeting with respect to the allocation and expenditure of CPA funds.
The CPA has distributed over $1,300,000 to 35 projects across all four project categories. In its four year history, the CPA is funding much-needed renovations to historic Town Hall and other historic buildings in Hamilton, improvements to community housing, enhancements to popular recreational areas, and more.
The CPC reviews project applications in the fall each year. The CPC actively seeks suggestions and proposals from residents of Hamilton, Town Boards and local organizations for projects which will best serve the goals of the CPA and the needs and interests of the Town and meet the CPC’s priorities for use of CPA funds. Please see the Guidelines for Project Submission, which provide additional details on the application process.