The Massachusetts Community Preservation Act (the "CPA") authorizes cities and towns that adopt its provisions to generate a dedicated stream of revenue for the acquisition, creation, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of open space, land for recreational use, affordable housing and historic buildings and landscapes. The provisions of the CPA must be accepted by the voters of the city or town at an election after such provisions have first been accepted by either a vote of the legislative body of the city or town or an initiative petition signed by 5% of its registered voters.
CPA revenues are generated from two sources: (1) a surcharge on the real property tax levy of up to 3% and (2) state matching funds. A city or town may adopt one or more exemptions to the surcharge that are permitted under the CPA.
The amounts raised by the surcharge on real property taxes and received in state matching funds are required to be deposited in a dedicated community preservation fund. The legislative body of the city or town must approve the expenditure of amounts on deposit in the fund for eligible projects based on the recommendations of a community preservation committee established by the city or town. At least 10% of the total annual revenues to the fund must be spent or set aside for open space purposes, 10% for historic resource purposes and 10% for affordable housing purposes.
For more information about the CPA generally, see Q and A regarding the CPA.