About the Community Preservation Act (CPA)
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) was signed into law in the Commonwealth on September 14, 2000 (Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 44B, Section 5). The CPA then was adopted by Ayer voters in April 2001. A local property tax surcharge is levied in ‘CPA communities’, with the State yearly contributing variable matching funds to each community based on local receipts. During the first two years of the program, Ayer’s local property tax surcharge was 3%. This was reduced to 1% by ballot vote in Fiscal Year 2003, reducing the state match significantly. It should be noted that the size of the state match itself proportionately doubles when the local surcharge is 3%.
The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) is charged with studying the needs, possibilities and resources of Ayer as it pertains to the four community preservation categories. Five members of Ayer’s 7-member committee are representatives from other town boards, as required by the CPA, with 2 additional ‘citizen-at-large’ slots filled by interested Ayer residents.
The CPC oversees the use of Ayer’s Community Preservation Fund by screening project applications and then recommending appropriate projects to Town Meeting for a final deciding vote on funding. Project proposals may be received from other Town boards or departments, from community groups, and from individuals. In reviewing proposals and determining priorities, CPC takes into consideration existing development plans (e.g. 2010-2014 Community Preservation Plan, 2017 Town Master Plan, 2019-2026 Open Space and Recreation Plan), deliberations with other Town boards, and input from community members during public hearings. The four project categories that are eligible for CPA funding are:
- acquiring and preserving land for open space;
- acquiring, preserving and restoring historic resources, structures, artifacts and documents;
- acquiring, preserving and developing land for passive and active recreational use;
- acquiring and developing community housing.
Guidelines and Online Resources
- For more information about Massachusetts Community Preservation Act (MGL 44B)
- Visit the Department of Revenue for a collection of CPA resources
- Links to Massachusetts GIS – CPA points