Community preservation tax surcharge clears Boston City Council – Metro US

Community preservation tax surcharge clears Boston City Council

Community preservation tax surcharge clears Boston City Council
Metro File

Voters in Boston will get a chance to weigh in on a 1 percent surcharge on their property tax bills, following a City Council vote Wednesday.

The board voted 12-1 to put the question to taxpayers in November.

Community Preservation Act funds come with a variable match from the state, and they are earmarked to pay for affordable housing, historic preservation and open space.

So far 160 communities in the state have already signed on to make use of the funds.

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“Now the fight will begin,” said Councilor Andrea Campbell, a co-sponsor of the move, said she planned to advocate for the CPA in the coming months. “Everyone will see this is the best thing the city of Boston could do going forward.”

It would have been a better deal for the city had it signed on in 2001 or 2002, when the match rate was higher, Councilor Michael Flaherty, the other co-sponsor, pointed out at the meeting.

Councilor Tito Jackson argued in favor of the CPA, saying it would allow “our city of Boston to actually continue to be a city that is not only a city for really rich people but for people who are working families and get to stay here.”

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Councilor Bill Linehan was the only “no” vote. He said he thought Boston relied too much on property taxes already.

“I think that we need to collectively to take on the responsibility of finding new ways in generating revenue for our city,” Linehan said. “I would prefer to increase the budget by $12 million to $15 million to put it in and find appropriate revenue sources, other than more property tax.”

Adopting the CPA would cost the average Boston homeowner $23.09 per year, proponents said, and would raise an estimated $16.5 million per year.

Boston voters in 2001 turned down the CPA when asked to support a 2 percent tax surcharge.

Read a report from the council’s Committee on Government Operations here.