By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Town Meeting members voted at the Aug. 8 Annual Town Meeting to move the only citizen petition warrant article forward to the November ballot so the voters could decide whether to adopt the Community Preservation Act.
Jason Molina, chair of the Ballot Question Committee “Community Preservation Shrewsbury” explained that the CPA allows communities who opt in to establish funds dedicated for recreation, open space, historic preservation and affordable housing. It is funded through a local option surcharge on property tax bills and a state match or those surcharges.
Thomas Pitney, Precinct 5 was concerned about people who are struggling because of COVID-19 and the impact this would have on them.
Beth Casavant, Board of Selectmen Chair, said that the Board recognized the value of the CPA but had issue with its timing because of their decision to support the debt exclusion for the Police Station that already will be on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Dale Magee, Precinct 5 stated: “A yes vote today is not adopting the CPA. A yes vote today is putting it before the voters and allowing them to decide.”
If Shrewsbury follows suit, the community stands to raise approximately $500,000 annually, according to prior information provided by the Shrewsbury committee.
The committee’s ballot question calls for a conservative surcharge of one percent of the tax levy against real property and includes all allowable exemptions. The surcharge can only be changed by referendum.
The average assessed property value in Shrewsbury is $478,603. Each property is allowed a $100,000 exemption automatically taken off of its assessed value. The yearly surcharge for the average property would be $47.41.
There is a 100 percent exemption for qualifying low-income and qualifying low to moderate income senior property owners.
To view Town Meeting in its entirety visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66XUo5cWYGU