City to request a $1.35M appropriation that would qualify Somerville for $360,000 to $670,000 in extra state matching funds for affordable housing, open space, outdoor recreation and
SOMERVILLE – In an effort to maximize the State’s contribution to Somerville’s Community Preservation Act (CPA) Fund, which is dedicated to affordable housing, open space, outdoor recreation and historic preservation projects, the City has submitted a request to the Board of Aldermen for an appropriation of just over $1.35 million to the fund, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced today.
In November 2012, Somerville voters overwhelmingly approved a 1.5% CPA surcharge on net property taxes. To date, the City has collected $1,315,237 in CPA revenue through that surcharge, making the City eligible for an estimated $300,000 to $580,000 in matching state funds. However, the state allows cities and towns to collect local revenue for the CPA up to 3% of net property taxes, and also rewards communities that reach the full 3% amount by increasing their match rate. If the Board approves the appropriation request of $1,355,671 in free cash to the CPA Fund, thereby bringing Somerville’s CPA Fund to the 3% level, Somerville could receive an estimated total of $660,000 to $1.25 million in matching funds from the state, effectively doubling its contribution.
“We know the challenges that Somerville faces keeping our city and homes affordable, expanding our open space and recreation, and preserving the deep history of our community. We also know that the more we put into our own CPA Fund to address these issues, the more funding we will receive from the state,” said Mayor Curtatone. “By requesting this appropriation, we’re looking to honor the priorities our residents made clear when they passed the CPA almost two years ago by one of the highest passage rates in CPA history. We are also looking to yield a greater return on the investment they chose to make. We should not walk away from this opportunity.”
The state match rate is determined by the amount of revenue in the state’s CPA Trust Fund, which is funded by fees on real estate transactions at the state’s Registry of Deeds. Last year, the state also transferred an additional $25 million from its budget surplus into the CPA Trust Fund, and it is considering transferring an additional $10 to $25 million this year. The final state match rate will affect how much matching funding the City will receive from the state.