Spoiler alert, below is the text of Ballot Question 1. If you're a geek like me, you'll read it in advance, so you know exactly what you're voting about on April 2nd in Stoneham.
If you're also sentimental like me, however you vote, you'll have a tear in your eye as you hold your kid's hand and walk into the polls and show him what it is to be a part of a democracy.
Community Preservation Act Ballot Question and Summary
[Sent By Town Counsel To The Town Clerk On February 25, 2013]
QUESTION # ___
Shall the Town of Stoneham accept sections 3 to 7, inclusive of Chapter 44B of the General Laws, as approved by its legislative body (town meeting), a summary of which appears below?
Sections 3 to 7 of Chapter 44B of the General Laws of Massachusetts, also known as...
(1) acquire, create and preserve open space, which includes land for parks, recreational uses and conservation areas;
(2) acquire, preserve, rehabilitate and restore historic resources, including historic community buildings;
(3) acquire, create, preserve, rehabilitate and restore land for recreational use, including for parks, playgrounds and athletic fields;
(4) acquire, create, preserve and support community housing;
(5) rehabilitate or restore open space and community housing that is acquired or created as provided in the CPA.
In Stoneham, the funding source for these community preservation purposes will be:
(1) a surcharge of one percent (1%) of the annual property tax levy against real property commencing in fiscal year 2014 (beginning July 1, 2013), pursuant to Section 3(b½) of the CPA;
(2) additional municipal funds that may be committed by the Town Meeting as provided in Section 3(b½) of the CPA; and
(3) an annual distribution made by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from a trust fund created by the CPA.
Exempt from the property tax surcharge in Stoneham are:
(1) property owned and occupied as a domicile by any person who qualifies for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in the Town as defined in Section 2 of the CPA; and
(2) $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of “class three, commercial property”, and “class four, industrial property” as defined in section 2A of Chapter 59 of the General Law.
A taxpayer receiving a regular property tax abatement or exemption will also receive a pro rata reduction in surcharge.
The expenditure of funds from the Community Preservation Fund for a CPA project shall require both a recommendation of the Community Preservation Committee and an affirmative vote by the Town Meeting on the Committee’s recommendation. Town Meeting may not appropriate CPA funds for a project which has not received the recommendation of the Community Preservation Committee.
Upon acceptance of the CPA by this ballot question, a Community Preservation Committee must be established by bylaw to study community preservation needs, possibilities and resources, and to make annual recommendations to the Town Meeting on the use of the funds.
Upon acceptance of the CPA by this ballot question, no change can be made in the one percent (1%) surcharge or the exemptions therefrom without another vote by ballot at an election.
WHAT YOUR VOTE WILL DO:
A YES VOTE is a vote in favor of accepting the Community Preservation Act as approved by the Stoneham Town Meeting in October 2012.
A NO VOTE is a vote against accepting the Community Preservation Act in Stoneham.