, Salem, MA


October 6, 2012

CPA gets second chance in Beverly

BEVERLY — The last time the city contemplated adopting the Community Preservation Act, voters said no by nearly 2,000 votes.

Ten years later, supporters are hoping the landscape has changed enough to produce a different outcome.

Beverly is one of nine communities in the state that will vote Nov. 6 on the Community Preservation Act. The state law allows communities to assess residents a 1 to 3 percent surcharge on their property taxes to raise money that must be used for open space and recreation, historic preservation and affordable housing.

Voters in Beverly rejected a CPA proposal by a margin of 60 to 40 percent in 2001, when it called for a 3 percent surcharge. This year the proposal sets the surcharge at 1 percent.

Supporters are hoping that change, plus the incentive of creating a pool of money to pay for projects that otherwise might not get done, will push the measure over the top this time.

“What we need to do is educate the community about how beneficial it can be,” said Babette Loring of Community Preservation Beverly, the citizen group that is advocating for the act. “It’s three causes that I believe strongly in. It enhances a whole feeling of community and who Beverly really is.”

Opponents say the CPA is just another tax imposed on already struggling taxpayers. Elliott Margolis, who co-founded Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility to fight a Proposition 2 1/2 override attempt in 2008, said his group will soon begin holding signs against the adoption of the CPA.

“We consider the Community Preservation Act to be another override, because that’s exactly what it is,” Margolis said. “Enough is enough. The city has to show us that they are trying to be as economical as the people who have to make ends meet. They’re not willing to cut anything; they just want to add to your burden.”

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