Monday, April 20, 2009

Community Preservation Act- Article 28

Article 28 at the Longmeadow Town Meeting will reduce the Community Preservation Surcharge from 1% to 0.25%.

While I, like most people, would love to reduce my taxes, approving this article would be very shortsighted. Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds allow us to do projects which would otherwise not get done.
[see Annual Town Meeting warrant]

Last year Town Meeting approved six projects using CPA funds. These projects are completed or in the process of being completed. We were able to provide new recreational opportunities at the Senior Center, complete exterior work on the Community House, and preserve historic town records and pictures. Without CPA funds, all of these projects would have had to use other town resources or raise private funds. In the case of the town records and images, waiting would have potentially lost them forever.

This year Town Meeting has four new projects on the warrant. One of these is to complete a project started with private funds to remove an invasive weed from the Fannie Stebbins Memorial Wildlife Refuge. Without these funds, the project would not be completed and the results acheived to date would be lost in a short time. We could potentially lose a beautiful town resource.
[see the 2008 CPC applications for additional information about the four proposed projects]

What projects will the future bring?
There are more town records to be preserved. The Housing Authority is developing ideas to help seniors stay in their homes. The town is working on a complete plan to renovate the Community House. The Town Hall may also need renovations. While I hope Twin Hills is successful as a private golf course, if it is not, the Town has the right of first refusal to purchase the property. Any one of these last three projects would require a substantial investment. The CPA surcharge allows us to have the funds available if we need them. We can collect the funds with a small surcharge over time and receive matching funds from the state, rather than require a large tax increase at one time with no state match.

What will you save if the surcharge is reduced? The average homeowner will save $34 a year.

What will we lose? The town will lose $75,000 annually in state matching funds.

Article 28 is supposed to save us money. In reality, it will cost us money. More importantly, it will cost us the ability to continue to preserve our town’s resources. Please vote NO on Article 28 at the Town Meeting on April 28th.

Bill Hoff
Chairperson- Longmeadow Community Preservation Committee

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