What is CPA?

Signed into law by Governor Paul Cellucci and Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift on September 14, 2000, the Community Preservation Act (CPA) helps communities preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities. CPA also helps strengthen the state and local economies by expanding housing opportunities and construction jobs for the Commonwealth's workforce, and by supporting the tourism industry through preservation of the Commonwealth’s historic and natural resources.

Property taxes traditionally fund the day-to-day operating needs of safety, health, schools, roads, maintenance, and more. But until CPA was enacted, there was no steady funding source for preserving and improving a community's character and quality of life. The Community Preservation Act gives a community the funds needed to control its future.

In addition to enabling communities to raise funds locally for open space protection, historic preservation, affordable housing and outdoor recreation projects, the Massachusetts CPA law creates a Statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund which provides distributions each year to communities that have adopted CPA. The Trust Fund’s revenues are derived from fees collected at the Registry of Deeds and State budget surplus funds.

How does the CPA Work in Medford?

  1. Medford citizens voted to adopt CPA in November 2015, which adds a 1.5% surcharge on annual property taxes (with exemptions).
  2. Matching funds from the Massachusetts Community Preservation Trust Fund are distributed to Medford. The proportion of the state match depends on the amount of funds raised locally and in other CPA communities statewide.
  3. A local Community Preservation Committee was formed and approved by the City Council, consisting of one member from each of the following commissions:  Community Development Board, Housing Authority Board, Conservation Commission, Parks Board, and Historic Commission - and four "at large" citizens.
  4. The Committee determines local needs and priorities for CPA program areas with input from the community, articulated in its Community Preservation Plan, and updated in an annual review process. 30% of the funds in each fiscal year are divided equally into each of the 3 CPA areas: open space and recreation, historic preservation, and affordable housing. The remaining 70% can be used in any of the CPA areas.
  5. The Committee solicits grant applications for local projects from City departments, committees, and community partners and makes spending recommendation for the City Council. The City Council has final approval of CPA funding.

 

2017 CPA planning forum

Additional Links

Community Preservation Act MGL c.44B
Enabling Legislation

Community Preservation Coalition
Further information about CPA communities, projects, and funding

Medford Community Preservation Committee
Official site for Medford's Community Preservation Committee