On November 5, 2002 Wellesley residents demonstrated their commitment to open space, historical preservation and community housing by passing the Community Preservation Act (CPA). As approved by Town Meeting, the local funding source for the Act in Wellesley will be a surcharge of 1% on the annual property tax bill assessed on real property, with certain exemptions, commencing in fiscal year 2003.
These local funds are "matched" each year by a contribution from the State from its Community Preservation Trust Fund, based on a formula. The Community Preservation Act (MGL44B) is statewide enabling legislation to allow cities and towns to exercise additional control over local decisions which affect community preservation issues.
The CPA provides new funding sources which can be used to address major concerns in Town. The core concerns addressed are:
- Acquisition and preservation of open space and land
- Acquisition and creation of affordable housing
- Acquisition and preservation of historic buildings and landscapes
The Community Preservation Act specifies that at least 10% of the CPA funds collected each fiscal year through the local surcharge and the State match be spent or reserved for the CPA’s three main purposes: open space, historic resources, and community housing. Funds not expended in one year may be "banked" or carried over to subsequent years as long as the funds are ultimately expended for the purpose for which they were reserved.
The remaining 70% of the annual funds can be appropriated or banked, for one or more of these purposes, plus recreational uses. Multi-use projects can draw funds from one or more categories.