SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

December 6, 2012

City gets ball rolling on CPA

SALEM — Three city councilors have joined a working group to discuss and propose how the Community Preservation Act will be implemented in Salem.

Councilors Josh Turiel, Jerry Ryan and Tom Furey volunteered for the seven-member board this week. The working group will also have a representative from Mayor Kim Driscoll’s office and three from the Salem Community Preservation Alliance, the citizens group that collected signatures to put the CPA on Salem’s ballot in November: Mickey Northcutt, Bart Hoskins and Christine Sullivan.

The CPA allows cities and towns to add a surcharge on the property tax to benefit projects that create or improve recreation, open space, affordable housing or historic preservation. The extra money raised is matched with state funds.

Salem’s CPA ballot question passed by more than 1,500 votes on Nov. 6. The city could begin CPA projects as soon as July 1.

To do so, the city must form a CPA committee, a five- to nine-member board required by state law to vet each potential project.

The working group formed this week will discuss what a CPA committee could look like in Salem — from their duties to number of members, how long their terms would be and other details. They’ll submit a proposal to the City Council, which will have the final say in establishing the committee.

The city solicitor’s office will also be involved in the process.

“It’s a fair, thoughtful way to approach creating (the CPA) committee,” Northcutt said yesterday. “I think it will be a really positive way to approach it.”

By law, the first five members of a CPA committee must come from existing city boards: the Historical Commission, Parks and Recreation Board, Housing Authority, Conservation Commission, and Planning Board.

Communities have the option to include up to four additional members, who could be appointed by the mayor or City Council, elected, or found by other methods.

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