Shall the City of Malden accept sections 3 to 7 inclusive of Chapter 44B of the General Laws, a summary of which appears below?
Sections 3 to 7 of Chapter 44B of the General Laws of Massachusetts, also known as the Community Preservation Act, (hereinafter “the Act”) establish a dedicated funding source to enable cities and towns to (1) acquire, create or preserve open space, which includes land for parks, recreational uses and conservation areas, and rehabilitate local parks, playgrounds, and athletic fields, (2) acquire, preserve, rehabilitate or restore historic buildings and resources, and (3) acquire, create, preserve and support affordable housing.
In Malden, the funding source for these community preservation purposes will be a surcharge of 1% (one percent) on the annual property tax assessed on real property beginning in Fiscal Year 2017, other local funds which may be committed by the City Council for community preservation purposes subject to the limitations in Section 3(b) 1/2 of Chapter 44B and by annual distributions made by the state from a trust fund created by the Act. Only communities that adopt the Community Preservation Act receive a distribution from the state trust fund.
If approved, the following will be exempt from the surcharge: (1) property owned and occupied as a domicile by any person who qualifies for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in the City of Malden, as defined in Section 2 of the Act, (2) $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property, (3) $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of class three, commercial, and class four, industrial, properties as defined in G.L. c.59, §2A. A taxpayer receiving a regular property tax abatement or exemption will also receive a prorated reduction in the surcharge.
For example, based on the current residential tax rate and the 30% residential exemption, both of which are subject to change each year, a residential property with an assessed value of $375,000 would be surcharged $25.69 if it is owner occupied, or $43.26 if it is non-owner occupied.
Upon acceptance by the voters, a Community Preservation Committee will be established by ordinance to study community preservation needs, possibilities, and resources and to make annual recommendations to the City Council for approval on spending the funds. At least 10% of the funds for each fiscal year will be spent or reserved for later spending on each of the Act’s three community preservation purposes: (1) open space and recreation, (2) historic resources and (3) affordable housing.