To the editor:
We are grateful to all of the volunteers who worked tirelessly to gather the 1,601 signatures to put the Community Preservation Act on the ballot this fall. Itâ€™s now time to focus on Nov. 6.
We learned that there is both much support and much confusion about the CPA and over the next several weeks will seek to get the facts out on this proposal. To start with, there have been changes to the act in the past years that are important for Salem residents to know:
The Legislature made key modifications to the CPA since 2007 when Salem rejected it. First, the revised law allows funds designated for open space to be spent on recreation and capital projects having to do with open space other than just open space acquisition. In our densely populated city, this change is significant. Every neighborhood has a park, and many have capital needs far beyond what we can reasonably expect to fund out of the cityâ€™s operating dollars. This means that CPA funds can be used to fix and improve those parks.
Second, the Legislature, recognizing the growing support statewide for CPA, for the first time funded $25 million toward the stateâ€™s matching funds. This is a huge improvement designed to increase the state match to communities. This also means that even more Salem taxpayer funds are going into this fund regardless of whether or not we choose to adopt CPA for our own community. Adopting CPA continues to be the only way for our city to receive the matching funds from the state.
Over the next nine weeks, our community will have a conversation about the CPA and whether or not we wish to invest in the resources which make our community so attractive as a place to live, work and visit. On behalf of the Salem Community Preservation Alliance, thank you to the volunteers who worked hard to collect signatures, thank you to the voters who signed the petition and thank you to the city councilors who supported putting this before the voters.
For the Salem Community