, Salem, MA

November 2, 2012

Letter: CPA is about community

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

We appreciate The Salem News’ endorsement for Beverly’s Question 4, “Vote yes for CPA.” We urge voters to vote yes on 4, and consider community in their decision.

A sense of community and cooperation is embedded in the CPA process, and implementing CPA is very different from most programs that currently support open space, preservation or community housing in Beverly. CPA projects can be proposed by anyone — not just elected officials, municipal staff or developers. You, as a resident, can submit a project proposal to the Community Preservation Committee for review. The CPC will be made up of five to nine people like you — up to four at-large seats as determined through a city ordinance and five representatives — all citizen volunteers — from the Conservation Commission, Planning Board, Historic District Commission, Parks and Recreation, and the housing community, as required by the CPA law. The CPC reviews projects for compliance with CPA guidelines and makes recommendations for funding to the City Council, which votes to approve or deny the project funding. You can participate in the CPA project selection by attending open public meetings and hearings of the CPC and the City Council.

The CPA surcharge is matched with state dollars derived from statewide real estate transaction fees. Beverly contributes to the state funds through these fees but cannot get the 27 percent matching funds until CPA is adopted. When was the last time you paid a tax and got cash back? Both the local contributions and the state match are deposited into a dedicated CPA account at the city treasurer’s office. CPA funds are not part of the general fund — CPA funds can only be spent on projects recommended by the CPC and approved by City Council.

Implementing CPA requires a balanced approach with public participation and representation from a range of individuals and interests, and its success depends on a strong community. We are grateful to our friends and family, donors, volunteers and endorsers who have shown us the community spirit.

When you choose to vote yes on 4, you are affirming a vision of a future Beverly where beautiful places are protected and accessible, our common history is preserved, and our seniors, teachers and young adults can stay in their community.

We urge you to join your neighbors in voting yes on 4.

Babette Loring