Community Preservation Back in Play

A group of representatives from the Open Space Action Committee were on hand Monday evening at the Board of Selectmen meeting to express their desire to get a Community Preservation Act approved for the town of Rochester.

According to members of the Open Space Action Committee, the last vote for a CPA was 26 votes shy of being approved in 2006.

Rosemary Smith, who is on the committee, said that the CPA enables cities and towns of Massachusetts to acquire funds to make open spaces more suitable for things like walking paths, baseball fields, and other outdoor recreational activities, as well as for preserving and restoring properties of historical significance. Funds from the CPA could also be used to preserve land and to protect drinking water, as well as wildlife habitats.

“All of the towns around us have the CPA, and by putting in a very small amount of money from [the taxpayers], they have reaped millions of dollars,” said Susan Teal, who is also on the Open Space Action Committee.

According to the Committee, 155 towns in Massachusetts have a CPA in place, and 30 are attempting to bring it forward.

Smith said that the point in going before the Selectmen Monday was to get feedback as to whether they thought the town vote for the CPA should be for the fall or spring.

The Board suggested that they go forth in creating some sort of memo stating their goals as well as to find members to be on the committee before they do anything else.

Smith also said that the average tax increase for a homeowner in Rochester would be about $30-50 per year.

“It’s town-directed spending,” Smith said.

In other news, Police Chief Paul Magee introduced new Sergeant Robert F. Small Jr., who’s been with the Rochester Police Department since in March of 1998. According to Magee, Small graduated from the Southern New England School of Law in 2009, and he recommended the promotion to Sergeant to the Board, who approved the change.

Town Administrator Richard LaCamera also announced that funding from the Chapter 90 Reimbursement, which helps municipalities get funding to repair roads, was cut in half due to a recent decision made by Governor Deval Patrick. According to LaCamera, they were expecting to get about $459,000, and instead, they will only receive about $229,000.

“That’s kind of disappointing, because this is the time that we schedule our paving and roadwork,” LaCamera said.

The next Board of Selectmen meeting is on June 17.

By Nick Walecka

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