Keeping the Community Preservation Act Strong

Hiking up the drumlin at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary

An Act to Sustain Community Preservation Revenue

S.1618 • H.2463 

Sponsored by Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (Newton) & Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (Gloucester)

The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a state law passed in 2000 that allows an adopting community to establish a dedicated local fund for open space, historic preservation, community housing, and outdoor recreation projects. CPA is adopted through a local ballot referendum, following initial approval by a municipality’s legislative body or a ballot question petition.

Close to half the cities and towns in Massachusetts rely on critical local aid from the Statewide CPA Trust Fund each year. The foundation of CPA is the promise of a strong state and local partnership in funding the program. With increasing numbers of communities adopting CPA, especially cities, this partnership is now in jeopardy. Unless the legislature acts to support the Trust Fund, the base match for CPA communities will fall below 20% this year, a record low.

The legislature approved funding from the state's budget surplus in FY2015 and FY2016 to bolster CPA funding short term. But to sustain CPA for the benefit of all communities, legislation increasing the program's dedicated funding component—registry of deeds recording fees—must be passed. This legislation’s goal is to provide a minimum 50% base match to all CPA communities.

So far, 172 communities (49% of the state's communities) have adopted CPA and over $1.7 billion dollars have been raised to date for community preservation funding statewide. Over 26,200 acres have been protected through CPA projects.