September 3, 2012: Salem CPA is on the ballot for this November, thanks to supporters who collected nearly 1,700 signatures in record time, just before the final certification deadline. A question to adopt CPA can be placed on the ballot either by a vote of the legislative body, or by obtaining the signatures of 5% of the registered voters on a petition. The petition effort in Salem was launched in hopes of reversing the Salem City Council's 6-5 vote against sending CPA to the ballot.
The morning after the decision, the group began their ambitious effort to gather the required 1,350 signatures, despite the fact that the deadline was just seven days away. Encouraged by Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, dozens of volunteers solicited signatures at homes and downtown businesses. Despite the tight deadline, the group collected more than enough signatures, with 1,601 certified by the city clerk. The CPA proposal in Salem is for a 1% property tax surcharge, with exemptions for low-income homeowners, the first $100,000 of residential property value, and the first $100,000 of commercial/industrial property value. Like Somerville, the city will be voting to adopt "Blended CPA," a provision of the recently passed CPA legislation which allows communities to add a limited amount of municipal revenues to their local CPA fund.
With this ballot question petition success, Salem joins three cities and five towns considering adoption during the upcoming November elections.