Boston Building Resources has signed on as a campaign partner for “Yes for a Better Boston,” Question 5 on November’s ballot, which would enact the Community Preservation Act in the Hub.
The Community Preservation Act, or CPA, is designed to help Massachusetts cities and towns create affordable housing, preserve open space and historic sites, and develop outdoor recreational opportunities. With Boston’s housing prices rapidly rising out of the reach of low- and moderate-income residents, BBR sees this measure as one way of preserving and increasing the city’s supply of affordable housing while also increasing quality of life through amenities such as parks and trails, as well as the restoration of historic buildings that give neighborhoods their distinctive character.
CPA funds are generated by a small surcharge on local property tax bills, which is then matched by a statewide trust fund. The average single-family homeowner would pay about $24 per year. The Yes for a Better Boston Committee is recommending a 1% property tax surcharge with exemptions for low-income homeowners, low- and moderate-income senior homeowners, and for the first $100,000 of residential and business property value. For example, owners of a home worth $500,000 would pay about $25 extra per year, and a home worth $750,000 would be assessed about $53 more per year.
Since the CPA was enacted by the state legislature 16 years ago, 161 other municipalities have adopted it, including Cambridge, Newton, Quincy, and Somerville. Projects completed in nearby cities and towns with CPA funding include affordable housing for seniors and the disabled in Harvard Square, rental assistance to disabled and formerly homeless households in Somerville, initial restoration of two firehouses in Quincy, and the renovation of Needham Town Hall.
With an estimated $20 million every year for CPA projects in Boston, the city would be able to create affordable housing units for seniors, families, and veterans; restore and preserve historic buildings; develop and improve parks, playgrounds, trails, and gardens; and acquire land to protect water quality and reduce climate change impacts.
BBR is in good company, with more than 90 other organizations also throwing their support behind the Yes on 5 campaign. These include the Boston Preservation Alliance, Historic New England, Mass Affordable Housing Alliance, and Metro Boston Housing Partnership.
More information is available from the Yes for a Better Boston website. Homeowners can also go calculate the amount of their CPA surcharge online.