SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

October 15, 2012

CPA debate heats up in Salem

Public forum scheduled for Wednesday to discuss law

(Continued)

Prevey will be among the anti-CPA panelists at Wednesday’s event. He said he’s against the CPA because it’s an additional tax and a way to “run around a Proposition 21/2 override.”

“It’s not a good fit for Salem,” Prevey said. “We’re a middle-class community, and a lot of people are struggling out there. ... People should really take a look at whether this is worthwhile. I don’t think it is, especially with the recent economic downturn.”

Northcutt argues the CPA is a way to tap into state funds for projects the city will be doing anyway, such as upkeep of city parks or the historic fence at Salem Common.

“The mayor and City Council recently bonded $2 million to renovate City Hall,” he said. “If we had the CPA, we could have had $600,000 or $700,000 covered outright by the state in a match. ... This is a way to bring in state resources that are right now just sitting on the table.”

The CPA is on the ballot in Salem and Beverly next month. In Salem, adoption would increase taxes by 1 percent, with exemptions granted for residents and senior citizens who qualify for low-income housing.

Also, the 1 percent tax surcharge would not be charged on the first $100,000 of a property’s assessed value.

Five percent of the CPA money collected by a municipality can be used to cover administrative costs; some towns use this to create and hire a department to manage CPA projects.

Prevey said he’s afraid CPA administration costs could rise above the 5 percent mark, forcing the city to pay for the extra out of the municipal budget.

“You really have to look at the entire landscape ... look at (the CPA) in the larger context of all the tax increases people (already) get,” Prevey said.

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