Drone gives aerial perspective of 'Lee, Gateway to the Berkshires'

Drone footage from a street festival in Lee is part of the short documentary "Lee, Gateway to the Berkshires." Residents agreed Tuesday to join the Community Preservation Act program.

LEE — Businesses and homeowners will pay a little more on their property tax bills to preserve the town’s way of life.

By a count of 2,256-967, voters on Tuesday passed Question 3, a local ballot measure, to adopt the state’s Community Preservation Act program. Starting in fiscal 2022, Lee will impose a 1.5-percent surcharge — the maximum is 3 percent — on the assessed value after the first $100,000 on commercial and residential property. Lee is the eighth Berkshire municipality to adopt the CPA, created 20 years ago.

The tax will take effect starting July 1 and add $36 to the average single-family homeowner’s annual real estate bill, according to supporters.

The money will fund restoration of historic landmarks and artifacts, preserve open space, pay for new or renovated recreational facilities and increase affordable housing.

Since 2000, 177 Massachusetts cities and towns have adopted the CPA, including Pittsfield, Lenox, Williamstown, Becket, Stockbridge, Great Barrington and, this year, West Stockbridge.

The Lee Select Board must appoint a nine-member Community Preservation Committee with one member each representing the Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, Housing Authority and Youth Commission. The Select Board will appoint four at-large community members to round out the panel.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com