The Community Preservation Act in Watertown will be on the ballot in town this November when residents will get to vote on whether create a fund for open space, affordable housing and historical preservation by adding a surcharge to tax bills.
This will be the second time the CPA has been on the ballot in Watertown. In 2005 the measure made the ballot but was voted down.
This time a group called Invest in Watertown has resurrected the effort, and on Tuesday announce they had the signatures needed to get on the ballot.
Even before the CPA officially made the ballot, the Concerned Watertown Homeowners Association came out opposing adding to the town’s tax rates for the CPA (see the group’s letter here).
It is not clear what number the ballot question will be on the ballot. That will be decided by Secretary of State William Galvin. There are four statewide ballot questions, but two more are pending approval.
Invest Watertown sent out the following announcement:
Local community group Invest in Watertown gathered approximately 1,500 Watertown resident signatures in an effort to bring the Community Preservation Act to Watertown. Town Clerk John Flynn certified 1,348 signatures which was about 200 more than the minimum needed for placing an item on the ballot in Watertown.
Voting YES will authorize the Town to place a small surcharge on property owners’ real estate tax bill.
The average homeowner will see a $10/month increase. Funds raised can only be spent on three specific public needs: open space/outdoor recreation, historic preservation, and affordable housing. Since Massachusetts passed the CPA in 2000, all of the abutting towns except for Boston, have already adopted the CPA, 160 towns state-wide. And now it is also on the ballot in the City of Boston. No participating communities have ever rescinded their YES vote.
“We are very excited to have achieved this milestone,” says Invest in Watertown member Patrick Fairbairn. “The CPA is such a tremendous tool for communities to take on vitally important community investment projects like new parks, ball fields, or senior housing.”
In Watertown, the CPA will raise about $1.7 million and be partially matched by the State bringing the annual proceeds to nearly$2 million. Low-income homeowners and moderate-income senior homeowners are entitled to an exemption from the surcharge. More information is available at www.investinwatertown.org