To the Editor:
I’ve lived in Rochester for about 15 years and I love it here. I’m in favor of adopting the Community Preservation Act (CPA) for lots of reasons. The one that gets my attention most is that our town has missed out on state matching funds from the CPA. Acushnet adopted the CPA in 2003 and has received over $600,000 in state funds; Mattapoisett adopted the CPA in 2010 and has already received over $230,000. 155 Massachusetts cities and towns benefit from these state funds while Rochester has missed out completely.
We all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. So what do towns do to get the state funds? The CPA allows towns to apply a surcharge on our real estate tax bills to create a special CPA fund. The cost to the average Rochester homeowner would be about $47 per year. The state match is based on real estate fees collected by the state. For 2013, the state match is expected to be over 27%. So if Rochester raised $200,000, we would get over $50,000!
Massachusetts towns have used CPA funds to purchase land for open space and recreation, for creating or improving playgrounds and ball fields, and for preserving and restoring historic buildings. Rochester has projects in all of those areas that need funding.
I am a retired accountant, and I think the Community Preservation Act is a good deal for Rochester. Where else can we get that kind of return on an investment while making Rochester an even better place to live?
I encourage Rochester residents to attend Town Meeting on November 25 to help us bring the CPA and those state matching funds to our town.
Chairperson, Rochester Conservation Commission
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