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Posted on: September 16, 2020

Propose a Community Preservation Act Project

Downtown Amherst,MA view of buildings and flowers

The Community Preservation Act Committee is now receiving proposals for Fiscal Year 2022 from now through Monday, October 12, 2020 at 4:30PM. You can learn more on their website here and can submit your proposal here.

What is CPA?

The Community Preservation Act (CPA), adopted by Amherst voters in April 2001, established a local fund based on a 1% tax surcharge (later amended to 1.5% and then to the full 3%) on property valuations above $100,000:

"for the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space; for the acquisition, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of historic resources; for the acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational use; for the acquisition, creation, preservation and support of community housing; and for the rehabilitation or restoration of open space, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created." 

The law also established a State Trust Fund, from which annual allocations are made to towns that have accepted the Act, partially or fully matching local appropriations. Local allocations are currently being matched by the state at between 15-20% for the initial round of funding, resulting in a projected total amount for distribution of approximately $1,000,000 for Fiscal Year 2022 (July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022).  Please remember that it is possible for Town Council to authorize long-term borrowing and then use future CPA funds to pay off the debt.

What is the CPA Committee?

The Community Preservation Act Committee (CPAC) is charged with assessing the needs of the Town in those areas identified by the Act and recommending relevant expenditures to Town Council.  By state law, CPA funds are to be spent only on community housing, historic preservation, open space, and recreation.  A minimum of 10% of the available funds (from the surcharge and the state match) must be set aside each year (although not necessarily spent) for each of three categories of community housing, historical preservation, and open space.  Recreation is the fourth recipient, or beneficiary, but is not mandated to receive the minimum 10%.

Please contact the CPAC at accounting@amherstma.gov should you have any questions.

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