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NATICK – The Town of Natick voters Tuesday passed ballot question #5, becoming the 190th community in the Commonwealth to pass the Community Preservation Act.

Sixty-three percent of voters on Tuesday said yes to Question 5.

The unofficial vote was 9,756 yes and 5,674 no.

According to the Yes for Question #5 Committee, the average residential property valued at $606,080 will pay an annual surcharge of $67.50 towards Community Preservation Act Natick fund.

Taxpayers will see the first surcharge will appear on the the tax bill at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2024, which starts July 1, 2023.

At 1% surcharge, the Natick Fund is projected to have about $1.1 million. There is a possibility of a state matching grant that could increase the first year fund to $1.4 million.

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In 2000, the Massachusetts’ legislature passed the Community Preservation Act.

The goal of the act is to address the difficulties that municipalities have finding money for quality of life projects. These include protecting open space, expanding outdoor recreation, preserving historic resources, and supporting community housing.

The Act permits cities and towns to create a Community Preservation Fund to support such projects. Since 2001, 189 cities and towns had adopted the Act, including neighboring Framingham.

They have raised over $2.3 billion for over 12,000 local community preservation projects. This includes more than $670 million they received in state matching grants.

Community preservation monies are raised locally through the imposition of a surcharge of not more than 3% of the tax levy against real property.

Natick chose to only have a 1% surcharge.

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“If Natick had adopted CPA in 2001 as is now proposed, we would would have collected more than $20,000,000 for our Community Preservation Fund. The Fund would have received a state match totaling $6,000,000 or more. This money would have supported hundreds of local community preservation project opportunities, which instead were lost, compromised, delayed, or made more expensive. Today there is no shortage of new, potential community preservation projects across the Town in every precinct. But the Town budget is more constrained and less able than ever to pay for these projects,”posted the yes for CPA Committee, before Tuesday’s election

Massachusetts communities have raised more than $2.3 billion for more than 12,000 local community preservation projects. This includes more than $670 million they received in state matching grants.

Now that it is approved.

A stand-alone Community Preservation Committee (CPC) will need to be created to manage the money.

The Committee will be composed of a representative from the Town’s Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, Planning Board, Park & Recreation Commission, and Housing Trust. The Select Board can appoint up to four additional citizens as members, for a potential total of nine.

This Committee with input from the public and others, will evaluate community needs and priorities, create a long-term plan, and recommend eligible projects for funding. 

All CPA funding appropriations will need to be approved by the Town Meeting.   Both a CPC recommendation and Town Meeting approval will be required for funds to be used for any purpose.

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.