Sample Ballot Language

Please note that these samples should not be used without the advice of legal counsel or outside the context of an overall political assessment of the electoral options available to any municipality. The City Solicitor or Town Counsel should be involved at the earliest practical moment to provide legal advice.

Town Meeting Warrant Article
Town Meeting Motion

City Council Order
Ballot Measure
Ballot Question Petition Language
CPC Bylaw Contents


 

Town Meeting Warrant Article
To see if the Town will accept Sections 3 to 7, inclusive, of Chapter 44B of the General Laws, otherwise known as the Massachusetts Community Pres
ervation Act, by approving a surcharge on real property for the purposes permitted by said Act, including the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space, the acquisition, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of historic resources, the acquisition, creation, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of land for recreational use, the acquisition, creation, preservation and support of community housing, and the rehabilitation and restoration of such open space and community housing that is acquired or created as provided under said Act; to determine the amount of such surcharge on real property as a percentage of the annual real estate tax levy against real property and the fiscal year in which such surcharge shall commence; to determine whether the Town will accept any of the exemptions from such surcharge permitted under Section 3(e) of said Act; or to take any other action relative thereto.

Town Meeting Motion
I move that the Town hereby accepts Sections 3 to 7, inclusive, of Chapter 44B of the General Laws, otherwise known as the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act, by approving a surcharge on real property for the purposes permitted by said Act, including the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space, the acquisition, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of historic resources, the acquisition, creation, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of land for recreational use, the acquisition, creation, preservation and support of community housing, and the rehabilitation and restoration of such open space and community housing that is acquired or created as provided under said Act; that the amount of such surcharge on real property shall be [x%] of the annual real estate tax levy against real property commencing in fiscal year [20__]; and that the Town [does not accept any of] [hereby accepts] the [following] exemption[s] from such surcharge permitted under Section 3(e) of said Act: [property owned and occupied as a domicile by any person who qualifies for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in the Town, as defined in Section 2 of said Act] [class three, commercial, and class four, industrial, properties as defined in G.L. c.59, §2A] [$100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property] [$100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of class three, commercial property, and class four, industrial property as defined in section 2A of said Chapter 59].

City Council Order
Ordered: that the City hereby accepts Sections 3 to 7, inclusive, of Chapter 44B of the General Laws, otherwise known as the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act, by approving a surcharge on real property for the purposes permitted by said Act, including the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space, the acquisition, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of historic resources, the acquisition, creation, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of land for recreational use, the acquisition, creation, preservation and support of community housing, and the rehabilitation and restoration of such open space and community housing that is acquired or created as provided under said Act; that the amount of such surcharge on real property shall be [x%] of the annual real estate tax levy against real property commencing in fiscal year [20__]; and that the City [does not accept any of] [hereby accepts] the [following] exemption[s] from such surcharge permitted under Section 3(e) of said Act: [property owned and occupied as a domicile by any person who qualifies for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in the Town, as defined in Section 2 of said Act] [class three, commercial, and class four, industrial, properties as defined in G.L. c.59, §2A] [$100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property], [$100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of class three, commercial property, and class four, industrial property as defined in section 2A of said Chapter 59].

Ballot Measure
Shall (MUNICIPALITY) accept sections 3 to 7 inclusive, of Chapter 44B of the General Laws, as approved by its legislative body, a summary of which appears below?

Sections 3 to 7 of Chapter 44B of the General Laws of Massachusetts, also known as the Community Preservation Act, establish a dedicated funding source to acquire and preserve open space, parks and conservation land, protect public drinking water supplies and scenic areas, protect farmland and forests from future development, restore and preserve historic properties, and help meet local families' housing needs. In (MUNICIPALITY), the Community Preservation Act will be funded by an additional excise of [x%] on the annual tax levy on real property to be assessed beginning in fiscal year [20__], and by annual distributions provided by the state. [OPTIONAL EXCLUSIONS: [property owned and occupied as a domicile by any person who qualifies for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in the Town, as defined in Section 2 of said Act] [class three, commercial, and class four, industrial, properties as defined in G.L. c.59, §2A] [$100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property] [$100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of class three, commercial property, and class four, industrial property as defined in section 2A of said Chapter 59]]. A taxpayer receiving a regular property tax abatement or exemption will also receive a pro rata reduction in surcharge. A Community Preservation Committee composed of local citizens will make recommendations on the use of the funds and all expenditures will be subject to an annual audit.

Ballot Question Petition Language
We, the undersigned registered voters in the town [or city] of [NAME] request that the following question be placed on the ballot at the next regularly scheduled election:

"Shall (MUNICIPALITY) accept sections 3 to 7 inclusive, of Chapter 44B of the General Laws, a summary of which appears below?

Sections 3 to 7 of Chapter 44B of the General Laws of Massachusetts, also known as the Community Preservation Act, establish a dedicated funding source to acquire and preserve open space, parks and conservation land, protect public drinking water supplies and scenic areas, protect farmland and forests from future development, restore and preserve historic properties, and help meet local families' housing needs. In (MUNICIPALITY), the Community Preservation Act will be funded by an additional excise of [x%] on the annual tax levy on real property to be assessed beginning in fiscal year [20__], and by annual distributions provided by the state. [OPTIONAL EXCLUSIONS: [property owned and occupied as a domicile by any person who qualifies for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in the Town, as defined in Section 2 of said Act] [class three, commercial, and class four, industrial, properties as defined in G.L. c.59, §2A, in cities or towns with classified tax rates] [$100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property] [$100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of class three, commercial property, and class four, industrial property as defined in section 2A of said chapter 59]]. A taxpayer receiving a regular property tax abatement or exemption will also receive a pro rata reduction in surcharge. A Community Preservation Committee composed of local citizens will make recommendations on the use of the funds and all expenditures will be subject to an annual audit."

Community Preservation Committee Bylaw or Ordinance Contents
The bylaw or ordinance establishes the composition of a community's local Community Preservation Committee, as well as the method of appointment of members to the committee and the length of the members' terms. The bylaw or ordinance should spell out the following information:

  • The number of members on the committee (between 5 and 9 members)
  • The length of the members' terms
  • The method for selecting committee members, whether by designation, election, or appointment or both

The Community Preservation Committee must include one member each from the local conservation commission, board of park commissioners, historical commission, planning board, and housing authority. If a municipality has not established one or more of these boards or commissions, a representative serving in a similar capacity can be appointed to the committee.

Beyond these requirements, the specific construction of the bylaw or ordinance should be crafted with local counsel to ensure that it conforms with local legislative practice.