Watertown Weighing Pros and Cons of Community Preservation Act

Watertown – When Watertown residents vote on November 8th for who they want to see in the White House for the next four years, there will also be five ballot questions to vote on.

Question five on Watertown’s ballot concerns the Community Preservation Act, which was first passed into Massachusetts law in 2000. The CPA calls for a small surcharge added to residents’ property tax bill. It is an optional provision which has to be voted on by residents of each town before it can be enacted. Currently, 161 towns and cities in Massachusetts have the CPA in effect, including Watertown’s surrounding communities of Belmont, Cambridge, Waltham and Newton.

CPA money is put into a collective fund that can only be used to fund open space projects, historic preservation, and affordable housing.

The CPA was on the Watertown election ballot in 2005 but was voted down. It was non-presidential election year, so voter turnout was low.

This year the CPA was placed on the ballot after local group “Invest in Watertown” collected over 1,000 signatures from residents throughout the community. Proponents of the CPA believe the act could help fund restorations to monuments and headstones, clean up and renovate open space areas like Victory Field and Walker Pond, and help create more affordable housing in Watertown.

Opposing the CPA is the group “Concerned Watertown Homeowners’ Association” who believe that open space, historic preservation and affordable housing can be funded by fundraising and other means without taxing people in the community. They also believe the Watertown’s top priority should be figuring out what to do with the school buildings.

We take an in-depth look at the CPA by talking to representatives from the Concerned Watertown Homeowners’ Association and Invest in Watertown.

Check Out the Video!

Jane Sender, President of Newton’s Community Preservation Community, explains how their community has used the CPA and how projects are chosen.

Produced by Dan Hogan, News Producer
Video by:
Kyle Igoe, Playback Operator
Sam Dudley, Videographer
Sharisse Zeroonian, Production Assistant

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