CPA Update
December 18, 2007
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We hope you find this issue of CPA Update informative, and invite you to call our technical assistance hotline if you need help with CPA in your community: 617-367-8998. Please note that the Coalition will be closed for the holidays beginning Monday, December 24th, and we will reopen on January 2nd. Happy Holidays from the Community Preservation Coalition!

What constitutes a majority on CPC votes?

The Department of Revenue, which oversees the CPA program, has changed their guidance on the correct way for a Community Preservation Committee (CPC) to take a vote at their meetings, including a vote to recommend a project to the legislative body.

First the background. Section 5(c) of the Act states that "the Community Preservation Committee shall approve its actions by majority vote." Unfortunately, that wasn't perfectly clear. Do you need a majority vote of the entire committee membership, or just a majority of those that are present at the meeting the night the vote is being taken?

CPA signs

Many CPA communities have adopted a policy of posting signs at CPA-funded project sites to let members of the public know how their CPA dollars are being spent. In some cases the signs are funded as part of the project expense, and in others the CPC uses administrative funds.

This is a great way to educate fellow community members about the Community Preservation Act, as well as to generate enthusiasm for local projects made possible through the CPA program. When residents can see tangible results of their CPA dollars at work, they will be more likely to be interested in and supportive of your community's future CPA efforts!

Local CPA websites

To date, Massachusetts communities have completed thousands of community preservation projects using their CPA funds. Some Community Preservation Committees have created their own web pages in order to share more detailed information about CPA-related happenings in their community. The Internet is one of the most effective tools for sharing information about successful CPA projects, helping citizens learn more about the community improvements their CPA funds have funded, and inspiring other communities as they plan their own projects.

CPA - A national model!

Since the passage of the Community Preservation Act in 2000, a number of state and local governments have loosely modeled subsequent preservation funding initiatives on the Massachusetts program. In addition, this past summer, about a dozen state legislators from around the country wanted to learn more about CPA, so they took a bus tour of CPA projects in Newton. The legislators were here to take part in the National Conference for State Legislators annual convention which was in Boston in August.

View newspaper article about the NCSL bus tour

Details on this issue's CPA project photo

The CPA project photo featured at the top of this edition is a historic preservation project in the town of Boxford. The photo shows Pat Shields, Boxford's Town Clerk, displaying some of the town's historic documents that will bepreserved, many of them dating back to the 1700s.

Increasing numbers of communities are turning to their CPA funds as a source of financial support for their document preservation projects, especially since the spring of 2006. That's when an amendment to CPA (HB1680, March 2006) changed the definition of "Historic Resources" under the Act to specifically allow CPA funds to be used to preserve historic documents or artifacts.

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Stuart Saginor
Community Preservation Coalition

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