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Planning to Begin on Implementing Community Preservation Act

The program is expected to be up and running in Somerville for the next fiscal year, according to a supporter of the measure.

On Nov. 6 at the polls, Somerville voters decided to adopt the Community Preservation Act, a statewide program that encourages cities and towns to put aside money for historic preservation, open space and affordable housing projects.

Dick Bauer, a spokesperson for The Committee for a Stronger Somerville, which campaigned for the Community Preservation Act, said he was "delighted" by the results of the election, especially since "the vote was better than three to one in favor" of the measure—24,358 voted to adopt the Community Preservation Act, and 7,714 voted against it.

Bauer called it a strong "endorsement" from Somerville voters.

Now, Bauer said, the city has about eight months to plan and implement the Community Preservation Act.

First, he explained, the Somerville Board of Aldermen must enact an ordinance establishing the program in the city.

Next, the mayor must appoint members to a Community Preservation Committee. The committee will have at least five members, who would come from Somerville's housing, planning, historic, conservation and recreation commissions. However, Somerville is likely to appoint nine members to the committee, the maximum allowed by law.

The committee would oversee the Community Preservation Fund and approve projects that apply for funding. The Community Preservation Act is expected to raise about $1.2 million from a property tax surcharge in its first year, and it would receive around $264,000, perhaps more, in state matching funds.

The Community Preservation Committee should be up and running for fiscal year 2014, which begins on July 1, 2013, Bauer said.

Bauer said he expected those who supported the measure to "stay engaged" with the issue.

"We look forward to this process of implementation," he said, adding he hopes "to have as public a process as possible."

More on the Community Preservation Act in Somerville

Question 4 Passes in Somerville

Blog: Somerville's Question 4: Is it worth it?

Monday: TV Town Hall Meeting on Somerville's Question 4

Should Somerville Adopt the Community Preservation Act?

Somerville Voters to Decide on Community Preservation Act

Matt C November 14, 2012 at 05:23 AM
I would like to see the elected city officials lay out a plan around allocation of funds to the different categories and then the committee work on the distribution of those funds within each category. It is critical that our elected officials are accountable for the determination of what percentage of additional tax dollars are targeted at greenspace, historic preservation and increasing the stock of low income, subsidized housing. This needs to be part of their record as it will be part of my decision process in reelection or not.

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