Each year at town meeting, voters dole out hundreds of thousands of dollars collected under the Community Preservation Act to projects that range from historical preservation to open space acquisition to affordable housing. Selectman John Rooney suggested this might be the year for voters to hold some of that cash in reserve.
“My feeling on CPA funds … is that we want to try to reserve as much of these funds as possible for work on the police station,” Rooney said at the board’s meeting on Tuesday. “We should allocate as much as we can to the restoration and repair of the police station, which is in dire condition, considering we don’t have funds to build a new one right now.”
The building that houses the police station — formerly the Peters High School Annex — is considered an historic structure, so CPA funds potentially could be used to renovate and restore it.
Southborough has somewhere in the neighborhood of $380K to allocate to CPA projects this year. Community Preservation Committee Chairman Andrew Mills told selectmen voters could decide to hold all or a portion of that in reserve.
Southborough voted to adopt the CPA in 2003. Under the act a surcharge is applied to property tax bills to fund CPA projects. The state matches a portion of the funds, but the match percentage has declined significantly over the past few years. The latest numbers I could find suggest the average state match has decreased from 100% to about 30%.
Earlier this year the Community Preservation Committee reviewed applications for CPA funds and approved a handful to present to voters at town meeting. In past years CPA funds have gone to replacing windows at the South Union School, purchasing an affordable home on Parkerville Road, and creating the Triangle Park.
Here’s the batch of projects Southborough voters will get to consider this year.
- Creation of a volleyball court at Woodward – Eagle Scout project ($4K)
- Affordable Housing Trust fund ($36K)
- Chestnut Hill Farm ($189K)
- Establishment of a Historic District along Main Street ($21K)
- Splash pad at the South Union School ($133K)
What do you think? Which of these projects would you vote to fund? Or should we save our CPA money this year for future projects? Talk about it in the comments.