To the Editor:
The Community Preservation Act is a state-run program in which the state gives money to towns that choose to set aside money to preserve their communities. The state CPA fund comes from real estate transactions. The town collects a surcharge on property taxes (the average home owner will pay less than $50 per year, and low income and the elderly can get a surcharge exemption), and each year receives a percentage of what it collects from the state fund. This year’s percentage is projected to be 27%. I wish my savings were collecting 27% interest.
The “Vote No on CPA” signs are starting to show up on Rochester lawns as the Fall Town Meeting approaches. The naysayers oppose new taxes, but this tax is unique in that town residents get to determine how the money is spent. A CPA committee, made up of town residents appointed by existing town boards, will present proposed projects to Town Meeting for our vote. Preservation projects may be historical, open space and recreation, or affordable housing. The CPA fund is allowed to accumulate until needed for approved projects and can never be taken over by the general fund.
Much of the opposition comes from the bigger land owners who actually stand to benefit more from preserving the community we all love. While they stand to pay more based on their greater land holdings, they will gain more as land values increase from maintaining our rural character.
A public forum will be held at the Rochester Senior Center on November 13 at 7:00 pm, where you can get the facts and judge CPA for yourself.
Most of our neighboring towns have already received hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve their communities. Why not Rochester?
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