, Salem, MA

July 1, 2013

CPA takes effect in Salem

Community Preservation Act Committee begins to meet

By Bethany Bray

---- — SALEM — The city’s new Community Preservation Act Committee has begun to meet, as the CPA takes effect in Salem July 1.

The CPA pays for projects to create or improve recreation, open space, affordable housing or historic preservation through a property tax surcharge. Salem residents voted to adopt the CPA in November with a property tax surcharge of 1 percent.

Salem’s property tax surcharge takes effect January 2014. The first $100,000 of a property’s value is exempt from the surcharge. For example, the CPA surcharge would be applied only to $200,000 of a building assessed at $300,000.

A nine-member CPA Committee, formed this spring to vet potential CPA projects, held its first meeting Tuesday and elected a chairperson: Helen Sides from the Planning Board. Kevin Cornacchio, one of the City Council’s appointees to the committee, was elected vice chairman.

Committee members and some City Hall staff will have a training session July 9 with the Community Preservation Coalition, a Boston-based nonprofit. The committee’s next meeting will be July 16 at 5:45 p.m. on the third floor of 120 Washington St.

According to Mayor Kim Driscoll’s office, the committee will begin reviewing potential CPA projects this summer, with the goal of recommending a first slate of projects to the City Council for their approval in the fall.

Driscoll named several potential CPA projects in her 2014 Capital Improvement Plan: replacement of window sills and frames at Salem Public Library, additional upgrades and repairs to the wrought iron fence around Salem Common, installation of a “splash pad” children’s play area at Forest River Park, and restoration of the city’s Roger Conant and Joseph Choate statues.

Driscoll attended the CPA Committee’s first meeting and said she intends to submit these projects to the board this summer for inclusion in the city’s first wave of CPA-funded improvements.

“I am grateful to the volunteer members of the committee for their dedication and commitment to serving on this board,” Driscoll said in a press release. “Ensuring taxpayers’ and state matching dollars are used in the most positive, transparent, and effective manner possible is an extremely important component of the CPA process. I look forward to working with the committee and the City Council to see that we make the most of this opportunity and accomplish projects that will make Salem an even greater and more vibrant community.”

For details on Salem’s CPA ordinance or committee, visit and click on “Boards & Commissions” on the left side.

Bethany Bray can be reached at and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.