Community Preservation Opens Application Cycle

The first meeting of the fall season of the Mattapoisett Community Preservation Committee took place on September 18. After a quick bit of organizational business, which found John DeCosta continuing as the chairman, Margaret DeMello as secretary and Michelle Hughes as treasurer, the committee discussed the opening of the application cycle. The 2014 cycle begins September 30 and ends November 15. Applications will be available on the town’s website or at the town hall.

Mattapoisett allows the open space committee, recreation department, community housing, and historic commission to request funds through an application process. However, private groups whose project may be of historic significance to the town and its residents may also submit an application.

Last year, the CPC presented the voters at town meeting with a list of projects that all ultimately received funding. Those projects were: Barlow Cemetery – $3,627 for fencing repairs and general maintenance; Mattapoisett Historical Society/Museum – $16,000 for new cataloging system of historical documents; Buzzards Bay Coalition – $96,000 for land acquisition at Nasketucket Bay; town wharf – $49,000 for masonry repairs; Bike Path Committee – $39,000 engineering fees for Phase 1B; town beach bath house – $50,000 for repairs including handicap accessibility structural improvements; and Recreation Department – $55,000 for a tot lot adjacent to the tennis courts at Center School, tennis court repairs and installation of a shuffle board court.

Each funded project is required to install on the project site signage stating that it is being funded by the CPC. The applicant is also required to provide an annual financial report detailing how the money has been used until the full fund has been discharged. At the next meeting of the CPC, point people for each project will be asked to attend and give an update including how the funds have been used.

The Community Preservation Act of Massachusetts (M.G.L. Chapter 44B) passed in 2000. The act allows cities and towns to raise money that may be used for various projects – projects that might otherwise not be funded. The funds are dedicated for use only for open space, historic resources, affordable housing, and the acquisition and development of recreational facilities.

Those towns that have adopted the act may raise funds via a surcharge on property tax bills up to 3 percent. Presently Mattapoisett imposes 0.0066 percent to real estate taxes for this purpose. Adoption of CPA triggers annual distributions from the state’s Community Preservation Trust Fund, a statewide fund managed by Massachusetts Department of Revenue. The state trust is funded via deed recording fees by the state’s Registries of Deeds. The two fund sources, local and state, combine to form the Community Preservation Fund.

The next public meeting of the Mattapoisett Community Preservation Committee is October 16 at 6:30 pm at Center School’s conference room.

By Marilou Newell


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