Take it from Pittsfield, Lee — vote yes on 3 for CPA

To the editor:

I’m writing to express my support for the adoption of the Community Preservation Act in Lee. Registered Lee voters can do this by voting yes on Question 3 on their ballot.

Through my work with Preserve Pittsfield, the grassroots campaign that helped Pittsfield adopt CPA in 2016, I’ve found that CPA provides the most effective, locally controlled funding mechanism available to accomplish historic preservation goals, create affordable housing and preserve parks, recreation and open spaces. Look up the many worthy projects at communitypreservation.org for examples. Since its inception in 2000, some 177 communities in Massachusetts (over 60 percent of the state) have adopted CPA, and none has ever voted to rescind it. This is a clear indication that CPA is a highly beneficial program to those that have adopted it.

There are many misconceptions about how much it would cost the Lee citizen, but actually CPA was designed to minimally impact those that can afford it the least.

The CPA is funded by two sources. Firstly, it would be funded by a 1.5 percent surcharge on property tax assessments over $100,000. The first $100,000 of your assessment is exempt from the surcharge. Any abatements and exclusions to the regular property rate assessment are also exempt.

Senior citizens can apply to be exempt from any financial contribution. The cost to individual families is about 10 cents a day — less than what buying a cup of coffee once a week would cost.

The second source of funding is a yearly distribution from the statewide CPA Trust Fund, whose revenues come from Registries of Deeds filing fees and transfer fees from every real estate transaction in the commonwealth.

Citizens from every town and city in Massachusetts (including Lee) pay into this fund, but the only way that Lee can benefit is to adopt the CPA. The projected matching fund amount for 2022 is expected to be about 25 percent of the amount that Lee itself raises from the surcharge.

Why should Lee continue to pay for other Berkshire County communities such as Lenox, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, etc., but not get to reap the rewards themselves?

Dynamic Lee was formed to help educate Lee about CPA. Please find them on Facebook and Instagram to learn more. We cannot control everything that happens in our communities, but why not focus on the good that we can do right now. Lee voters, vote yes for CPA on Question 3.

Sara Clement, Pittsfield

{&break}The writer is the chairperson of Preserve Pittsfield.