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Select Board To Scrutinize Level of Participation In CPA

by Connie Sartini
On Monday, January 27, the Select Board will hold their first discussion on continuing with the Community Preservation Act. Also, on Monday, March 9, the Board will continue its discussion on Groton’s participation in the Community Preservation Program.
The Select Board meetings usually begin at 7 p.m. – but check the town website in the event of any change. They are held in the Second Floor Meeting Room at Town Hall.
     Select Board member John Giger told colleagues that the “Select Board needs to decide what we want to do once Surrenden Farm is paid off” in April 2021. The cost to acquire the Surrenden Farm property by the town was reportedly in the neighborhood of $5M and was paid over the years through the use of Community Preservation Act funds.
     Giger asked the Select Board, that once Surrenden Farm is paid off, “Do we want to keep (the surtax assessed on real estate tax bills) at three percent, go to two percent or one percent?”
     When voters approved adoption of the Community Preservation Act, reimbursement for the three percent surtax was 100 percent. Since that time, there have been several adjustments, and that amount is now in the 30 percent range for reimbursement.
     By way of background, the Community Preservation Act, was approved by voters at the adjourned session of town meeting on April 26, 2004 to May 3 2004 where the article garnered the necessary two-thirds majority vote and was ultimately followed by a ballot vote.
     Adoption of the Chapter 44B of the Mass General Laws – also known as the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act – was supported by the then Selectmen by a 3 to 2 margin. Discussion, as recorded on May 3, 2004 town meeting minutes, indicates that there was split support by key Committees and Elected Boards as well.
     At that time – proponents told voters that the three percent surtax on their real estate tax bill or CPA would receive a 100 percent match from the fees charged by the state for real estate transactions and the town would have the option of opting out after five years.
     The article to accept Chapter 44B of the Massachusetts General laws passed by a 2/3 vote -163 voting yea, and 100 no votes at the May 3, 2004 town meeting.
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