SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 6, 2012

CPA gets second chance in Beverly

(Continued)

Loring said about 65 percent of Beverly property owners will pay between $40 and $50 per year for the CPA, based on the assessed value of their property (the first $100,000 of assessed value is exempt). Low-income property owners and moderate-income seniors are except.

If adopted, the CPA would raise about $750,000 per year, according to Beverly Community Preservation — $600,000 through the property tax surcharge and the rest through a state match. The state money comes from a surcharge on real estate transactions at the state’s registries of deeds.

A total of 148 communities, 42 percent of the state’s cities and towns, have adopted the CPA. Loring said communities that don’t have the CPA are missing out on the state money they are helping to fund.

“We’re giving money away, in a sense,” she said.

Community Preservation Beverly says CPA money would be used to create a reliable source of funding for areas that are vulnerable to cuts, such as parks, playgrounds and libraries. It cites potential projects such as the ongoing rehabilitation of the carriage house at Lynch Park, installing signs in the downtown central business district, and preserving the 1812 powder house on Prospect Hill, one of only seven powder houses (which were used to store ammunition) remaining in the state.

As other examples, the group says the money could be used to control invasive species and restore habitats of natural areas, fix historic cemeteries and preserve historic city records.

Margolis said if such projects are so important, the city should find the money to pay for them without imposing another tax.

“If that’s the only way you can get money to do it, then it’s not a major priority,” he said. “Why should it come from people who are unemployed in today’s economy or are struggling to make ends meet?”

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