While incessant ads have argued the pros and cons of ballot Questions 1-4 leading up to the Nov. 8 state election, Question 5 is expressly a local issue for Natick voters.
This question asks Natick voters to muddle through its wording and decide whether the the town should adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA), established in 2000 in Massachusetts.
During Spring Annual Town Meeting, a motion to adopt CPA passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 104-16-1.
If adopted by Natick, the CPA would result in a local property tax surcharge (1% is proposed, with a $100K exemption) to establish a fund used to support investment in historic preservation, open space, recreation, and affordable housing (some who qualify as low or moderate income will be exempted from paying the surcharge). More than half of the state’s cities and towns have adopted CPA, and Natick is among 6 communities voting Nov. 8 on whether to join those ranks. (See more about the process for accepting the CPA on the Secretary of State’s website.)
Natick did not opt to become a CPA community when the issue was on the 2006 ballot, but this time around an organized effort has tried to make a stronger case. Postcards went to all Natick address, a couple hundred lawn signs are displayed across town, and an online forum was held recently on the topic. The Natick Nest, Natick High School’s student-run newspaper, recently published an op-ed piece in support of voting “Yes” on Question 5.
Possible uses for money raised that are listed on Natick’s pro-CPA website include easements to complete a major trail network and acquiring key riverfront parcels. Perhaps CPA funds could back improvements at the Charles River Dam park.
There doesn’t appear to be an organized group against Question 5, but arguments for voting “No” on it have surfaced on popular online discussion forums in town, such as Natick Talks on Facebook. The main argument is that this is an additional tax at a time when many are struggling with rising costs of just about everything, and a possible override looming.
Proponents of CPA point out that the town can get matching funds on its CPA dollars, providing a big benefit to the town overall.
See the town’s website for more on where and when to vote.
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