HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Some western Massachusetts voters will need to decide whether it’s worth it to add a surcharge to their property taxes. Ballot question 5 is the Community Preservation Act. It would tack on a property tax surcharge.
Question 5 would essentially add an extra tax to your existing property tax. The money would go into a fund to be used to preserve open space, parks, historic buildings and build affordable housing. The surcharge would range from 1-3% of the assessed value of your property, minus $100,000.
Question 5 will be on the ballot in 16 Massachusetts communities including Holyoke, Palmer, Pittsfield, Springfield and South Hadley.
Low income families and some seniors are exempt from the tax. Jason Ferreira heads the YES on 5 committee in Holyoke.
“The stained glass windows in city hall. Parks. Housing for seniors and veterans. These are all things that the city of Holyoke s already paying money on. So for a project we bond for it and it’s sort of a local municipal way of taking out a loan and we pay interest on it,” said Ferreira.
More than 160 communities already have the CPA tax, but signed on in 2000 when the state matched the towns dollar for dollar. Over the years the state match has shrunk to 19-25%.
“They were 100% matching dollar for dollar. It’s taken 16 years for the state government to drop it down to 19%. Eventually that 19% is going to be 0% and they city oh Holyoke, if this passes will just be paying into a system that we don’t get any matching funds from,” said Dan Bresnahan, the spokesperson for vote no on question five.
Those opposed say property and commercial tax is already too high, and that a simple prop 2 1/2 override can be used to earmark dollars for a special project.
22News is your home for Tuesday election night coverage. We will bring you the results of question 5 and all the ballot questions and important local, sate and federal races on 22News, The CW Springfield and WWLP.com.