Preserving and Enhancing our Town:
The Belchertown Community Preservation Act
Project applications to be voted on the May, 2014 Town Meeting are due no later than Monday, December 16, 2013, at Town Hall. A good application begins with an understanding of CPA legislation and the criteria for projects. The best and most complete information for project applicants can currently be found at the website of the Community Preservation Coalition, a state-wide lobbying group for the legislation.
What is the Community Preservation Act and How Does it Benefit Residents of Belchertown?
The Community Preservation Act [CPA] is a state tool to help individual towns and cities in the preservation and enhancement of their community. The residents of Belchertown voted in May 2005 to adopt the CPA. The monies available for distribution are based on a 1.5% surcharge on property taxes and a state match. This sum will be allocated to projects that will specifically benefit Belchertown.
How Does the Money Get Allocated?
The Community Preservation Committee [CPC] was established by the Town of Belchertown to review project applications and make recommendations to the Town Meeting, where they are voted on. There are nine members of the CPC; they include four "at large" members appointed by the Board of Selectmen, and one representative from each of the following Town committees: Conservation Commission, Historic Commission, Housing Authority, Planning Board, and Recreation Commission.
Each year 30% of the funds must be allocated—10% to each of the three categories of open space, historic preservation, and community housing. The remaining 70% may be allocated to any of the above categories plus to recreation. The Community Preservation Committee has voted to reserve ten percent of total funds available for projects under $5,000.
What Kind of Projects are Eligible for CPA Funding in Belchertown?
State legislation requires that CPA funds be used for projects that are consistent with the Belchertown's planning documents regarding community preservation and fall under one or more of the following four categories: open space, historical resources, community housing, and recreation. After a careful study of the Town planning documents and the CPA legislation, the CPC has established a) general criteria for project eligibility and b) specific criteria for each of the four categories.
For more information on CPC meetings, activities, applications and questions please visit www.BelchertownCPC.org