“It is really incumbent upon people,” he said, “to ask where the money is going before folks in government tell you you’ve got to be paying more.”
Supporters countered that nearly half of the cities and towns in the state are taking advantage of the matching funds, which come largely from real estate fees paid across the state, and that Salem is missing an opportunity to use that money to help repair historic City Hall, fix the Salem Common fence or make other improvements.
They said a lot of these projects get put on hold because the city budget is tight and funds are limited. The CPA, they said, is an investment in retaining and improving what is best about Salem.
“If we can’t keep up our parks, if we have no open space, if we don’t support our historic fabric ... we won’t have the city we have today,” CPA backer Christine Sullivan said.
Tom Dalton can be reached at email@example.com.