CPA not worth the added property tax


Dear Editor:

On Tuesday, April 3, Canton voters will have an opportunity to vote in an election with several uncontested races for town officials, one contested race to fill a vacant position on the Canton Housing Authority, and one ballot question.

Although Canton voters elect some members to serve on this board, the Housing Authority is a state-funded board with no town budget and no revenue from Canton’s property taxes. It is not a part of the town’s municipal government.

The ballot question for the April 3 election is to accept or reject the adoption of the Community Preservation Act (CPA). Approval of this ballot question will result in a 1 percent increase to the property tax bill starting this July. This 1 percent increase will cost the average homeowner about $50 in additional taxes. Acceptance will also allow any future town meeting to increase the tax up to 3 percent with a simple majority vote, an easy accomplishment when considering who usually attends and votes at town meeting.

How can this tax money be spent? It can be spent on three things: historical resources, affordable housing, and open space/recreational use. Canton has already reached its 10 percent affordable housing requirement. Canton town government is not involved in any housing as a landlord or as a housing property owner. As I mentioned, the Housing Authority in Canton is a state board, not a town board. If this ballot question is adopted, under the law, the community must spend or reserve at least 10 percent of the annual revenues on each of the act’s three purposes. The Community Preservation Act Committee (CPAC) would generally decide to reserve the mandated 10 percent for housing. However, they could choose to give the money to the state. For this to happen, the Housing Authority would have to request the money, the state would have to agree to accept the money on behalf of the Housing Authority, and town meeting would have to approve that project. One other possibility is that the CPAC could give the money, with town meeting approval, to a private developer — not something I wish to happen to my tax dollars!

The election on April 3, and every election, will cost the town of Canton about $10,000. Make it worth the cost — vote. And vote no to this extra property tax.


James Sims

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avatar Posted by on Mar 28 2012. Filed under From One Citizen to Another, Opinion, Town Election. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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