Voters to decide on adopting Community Preservation Act

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Voters to decide on adopting Community Preservation Act
A sign advocating people to vote “yes” in Westborough. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

WESTBOROUGH – In addition to voting on local and statewide offices, Westborough will be deciding on whether to give final approval to adopt the Community Preservation Act.

This will be Question 5 on the state election ballot.

If Westborough adopts the Community Preservation Act (CPA), the town will join neighboring communities like Grafton, Hudson, Northborough, Shrewsbury and Southborough in doing so.

The CPA was given initial approval at last spring’s Town Meeting.

Under the measure, there would be a 0.5% surcharge of the annual real estate tax levy against real property, starting in fiscal 2024. During past meetings, officials have said this would translate to an approximately $42 impact on tax bills for residential property owners.

There would be exemptions, including a complete exemption for low-income property owners and low- and moderate-income senior (60+) property owners; an exemption of the first $100,000 of valuation for residential property owners; and an exemption for the first $100,000 of valuation for commercial and industrial property owners.

Proceeds from CPA funds can be used for open space, historic preservation, recreation and community housing. These funds are partially matched with funds from the state’s Community Preservation Trust Fund.

Funds are managed locally and Town Meeting must approve all expenditures, which must meet Community Preservation Act criteria.

As candidates representing Westborough vie for office, Stephen Fishman, Hannah Kane and Kate Donaghue have all voiced their support for Question 5.

“CPAs are a great idea,” said Fishman.

Jonathan Hostage has come out against adopting the Community Preservation Act.

“Donations and volunteering should be enough. We don’t need another tax,” Hostage said.

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