By Cory Willey
EGREMONT — For the second time in four years, in a vote that divided the select board from the town finance committee, the town has rejected the acceptance of the Community Preservation Act.
After resident Richard Allen requested the CPA vote be moved up on Monday night’s special town meeting in order to separate the CPA issue from the mostly-unrelated affordable housing vote, a hand vote was taken. The article failed by a vote of 89 to 72.
The issue first came before the town in 2014, when it was approved at town meeting but rejected during the requisite follow-up vote on the next election ballot. Signed into law in 2000, the CPA allows communities to create a Community Preservation Fund to be used for affordable housing projects, historic preservation of buildings, the preservation and the development of outdoor recreational facilities. Acceptance of the CPA leads to the creation of a locally controlled Community Preservation Fund which raises money via a surcharge of up to 3 percent of the tax levy against real property. Funds are also distributed to those municipalities that have accepted the CPA by the Massachusetts State Department of Revenue through the statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund.
The local CPA committee must spend or set aside a certain percentage of their annual CPA funds for future projects. Those funds must be put towards three core areas — 10 percent for open space and outdoor recreation, 10 percent for historic preservation and 10 percent for community housing. The remaining 70 percent can then either be spent or reserved for future projects within those three core areas. Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lenox and Becket have all accepted the CPA.
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