12 thoughts on “LETTER: No Vote on CPA is Fiscally Prudent, Shows Empathy for Neighbors

  1. Great article John.
    I have been trying to raise the same point throughout this election. There are many families in town who will not qualify for an exemption to the CPA tax that will be hurt by it (renters, as well as home owners making a good income but have high expenses but the only expenses they can deduct for the exemption are personal income tax exemption, cost of heath care insurance, and the cost of health care expenses. )
    The wealthy can afford to pay the CPA tax but that does not mean that everyone can. The answer is of course not! Lets have a little empathy for our less fortunate neighbors who are living week to week, and just as important lets not allow out of town money to influence our votes with their slick colorful flyers for nice to have things!

  2. John, you should mention that not one of the 161 towns who have passed CPA has repealed it. That should stand as some measure of satisfaction with what CPA has meant to these communities.

    • You can only repeal the CPA once all debts have been satisfied. Do you have any data on which of the 161 CPA-adopting communities had fully satisfied debts, had the option of repealing the CPA go to ballot, and then failed to vote it out?

      • That is a good question. It is a shame that the debate on this issue has focused more on disparaging people and creating rumors of special interests and outside meddling. It would have been nice to have some serious reportage about other communities experience with CPA.

        But I imagine that out of 161 communities, some would have been able to repeal it if it were not beneficial.

        Charlie, a story on this would be great, but it is probably too late. But these are the types of questions that should have been the center of the debate.

      • Julie,

        You may have been given some misinformation – there’s alot out there! The CPA can be repealed after 5 years – regardless of debt. The debt still has to be paid back – same as if we took it out without the CPA.

        The CPA has come up for a repeal vote twice that I know of:

        1)There’s a great example of how well thought of the CPA is thought of once adopted in Northhampton. In 2005, the CPA passed by just 175 votes. In 2011, Northampton voters soundly rejected a referendum to repeal the CPA by a vote of 6,204 to 2,732, a margin of better than 2 to 1.

        2)Hingham is the only other community in the state that I know of that put a CPA repeal question before voters. Residents in Hingham voted to keep their CPA by a margin of 72 to 28 percent.

        A few communities with town meetings have had repeal presentations brought up and defeated.

        A handful of communities have voted to reduce their % as well.

        It’s not that communities can’t get rid of the CPA is that those communities that have it don’t want to. Let me know if you have any other questions.

        • Thank you, this very valuable information and shows the reality of how the CPA has affected those Cities and Towns who have adopted the CPA. Obviously these communities are grateful for what it has done for them.

          • Thank you, you are very welcome! I think it’s so important to share information about how this has or hasn’t worked in other towns. If it hadn’t worked in other towns, I’d have been the first to not support it. It has worked though, and based on early returns, it seems like Watertown agrees with us.

  3. Great article Jhon.we working hard to pay all of the expenses plus that stupid CPA.the property taxes in Watertown are very high but our legislators need more money for their own expenses. Vote yes on 5 will put our community on risk.no no.. no on 5

  4. Money is being left on the table. The funds, distributed by the Department of Revenue to communities who have adopted the CPA are collected from deed recording fees charged by the state’s Registries of Deeds, which are the funding source for the statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund. Revenues from two sources—the local CPA property tax surcharge and annual distributions from the state’s Community Preservation Trust Fund—combine to form a city or town’s Community Preservation Fund. By not adopting this, Watertown does not receive any funds collected from property transactions. People moving into town or relocating within town are paying into this and the other communities are getting it. Yes, they have to pay to play. But to date Watertown is sitting on the sidelines paying to watch.

    • If you haven’t purchased or sold a home this hasn’t cost you a penny. We average about 100K in registry fees a year. So lets tax 4500 households, whose income we know nothig about, other then that they are designated as “Housing Cost Burdened” meaning the spend over 30% of their income to live here. Walk down your street, there is a 1 in 4 chance the door you knock on is living paycheck to paycheck.

  5. Given that registry of deeds fees are about $125, this would represent about 800 properties every year or 20% of the households based on your referenced total. This would be significant over the the course of years Watertown could have been participating in this program. Maybe there would have been more affordable housing units set aside if we had been receiving these subsidies, which could have helped secure housing for some of those who you are trying to protect.

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