By Seth Daniel
Just as the City is about ready to name the new Community Preservation Act (CPA) Board members in the next month, the state’s matching fund is at record lows and almost down to nothing.
The CPA was voted in last November by Chelsea voters, and it is a program that began in 2000 whereby cities can collect a surcharge on property tax bills, and the state makes a matching contribution. Through the local board, that pot of money can be used on parks, historic preservation and affordable housing. Now, however, the state’s contribution is dwindling.
Last year, the matching contribution was at 20 percent – after having been at 100 percent for many years – and this year with Chelsea, Boston and seven other cities joining those who already are participating in the CPA, that state match is estimated to be down to as little as 10 percent.
Ambrosino said there is legislation that would put a surcharge on all property deeds, which could essentially bring it up to a state match of 50 percent.
“Something is going to happen, but I don’t know if it is going to get to 50 percent,” he said. “Even if we get to 25 percent, that would be okay. Anything below 20 percent would be disastrous.”
That said, it isn’t deterring the City from continuing its aggressive plan to collect surcharges this fiscal year (ending June 30) and distributing that money this fall.
Ambrosino said there are five members of the Board that are mandatory, mostly City workers, and there are four citizens which he has chosen and will put forth to the City Council this month for consideration.
“The state situation is not deterring us at all,” he said. “We’re collecting the surcharge and we’ve collected more than $500,000 in local monies.”
He said it will be a story to watch in the coming months, as the voters approved the measure based on the fact that there would be a significant state match to the local funds collected.