Community Preservation Looking for Administrative Help to Meet Timeline

With a pilot round of projects approved by the City Council, the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) is moving forward with plans to fund bigger preservation, open space, and housing projects.

But first, the CPC will need to continue the search for a consultant to help with the process as it becomes more time consuming for the committee volunteers and City staff.

Earlier this summer, the CPC put out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for administrative services to help manage the Community Preservation Act (CPA) projects, funds, and proposals, but no one replied to the RFQ.

“The summer tends to be a tougher time (to get responses),” said Karl Allen, the city’s economic development planner. “But we can renew it.”

While no one filled out an RFQ, Allen said there were about two dozen people who retrieved a copy from the city’s website. He also noted that there was one potential applicant, but she said she would not be able to begin work until around Thanksgiving.

Chelsea voters approved the adoption of the CPA in November 2016.  It will provide hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to be used for the creation and acquisition of affordable housing, historic preservation, open space and recreation. The CPA trust fund currently has a balance of just over $2.2 million before any money was spent on the recent round of pilot projects.

CPC Chair Jose Iraheta noted that the committee was looking to bring another round of CPA projects forward to the council by next March. Pushing back the acquisition of administrative services could delay that timeline, unless the CPC is willing to take on more work, Iraheta said.

“We are already in a tight timeframe to begin with,” he said. “We need a willingness to take on some of the work if we want to meet the timeline.”

Several CPC members said they were willing to take on more work to help push forward with a more aggressive timeline, including working on public outreach and holding a public hearing on CPA progress later in the fall.

“I think some of the outreach we can do in advance,” said Allen.

If eligibility forms for projects are available by January, Allen said they could be reviewed in time for applications for projects to be filled out in February, and still meet the goal of having the projects before the City Council in March for funding approval.

CPC members agreed that the RFQ for administrative services should be reposted, with Allen reworking the timeline to get projects before the council next March.

In other business at last week’s CPC meeting, the committee discussed finalizing the committee’s bylaws. The committee also held off on the election of officers until those bylaws are finalized.

The committee also approved using some administrative funds for the design and production of promotional materials.

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