What does Community Preservation Act (CPA) surcharge on your tax bill enable the City of Holyoke to do?

The CPA enables cities and towns in Massachusetts to create a local dedicated fund for open space, historic preservation, community housing, and outdoor recreation projects. Cities and towns that adopt the act also receive funds from the statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund each year to help fund these projects.

Who is exempt from the CPA surcharge?

Low income families and seniors who are low to moderate income would be fully exempt from the CPA surcharge. To find our if you may be exempt, contact the Assessor’s Office at City Hall at 322-5550.

Your surcharge payment will be collected quarterly -- divided by four for the fiscal year, July, October, January, and April billing periods.

The City voted to adopt the Community Preservation Act on November 8, 2016. The Mayor and City Council have established a nine-member Community Preservation Committee (CPC) to review proposals for local CPA-funded projects, and recommend projects to the City Council for approval. All CPA projects must be approved by Holyoke’s City Council to receive CPA funds. Public input at the CPC’s bi-monthly meetings is encouraged. Informational meetings and public hearings will be held throughout the City.

CPA communities exercise local control over their CPA budget. Input from residents and community boards and committees will determine what types of CPA projects will most benefit the community each year.

How is CPA funding generated?

CPA funds are generated through two sources: a voter-approved surcharge of up to 3 percent on property tax bills, and an annual disbursement from the statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund, which distributes funds each November to communities that have adopted CPA. The Trust Fund’s revenues are derived from fees collected at the Registry of Deeds, and from state budget surplus funds. Holyoke voters adopted a 1.5% surcharge.

Example: the average home in Holyoke is assessed at $1 79,340 and the homeowner would pay an additional $23 per year for the proposed 1.5% CPA surcharge which is assessed only on the portion of the property tax bill after the first $100,000 is exempted.

Why is the CPA is great for Holyoke?

The local fund for Holyoke would generate approximately $460,760 annually, based on FY2016 data. This does not include state CPA matching funds nor additional larger grants using CPA funds as a seed start.

What can CPA funds be spent on?

Each fiscal year, CPA communities must spend, or set aside for future spending, the following share of their annual CPA revenues on three core areas:

10 percent for open space and recreation
10 percent for historic resources
10 percent for community housing

The remaining 70 percent of the revenues may be spent or reserved for future projects in any of these three programmatic areas. CPA funds may never be directed to the general city fund; they may only be spent on the CPA core areas of open space, historic preservation, community housing, and outdoor recreation.

What types of projects may Holyoke fund with CPA?

Restore and preserve historic city halls, libraries, schools, and other structures,
Create new or restore existing ball fields, playgrounds, and recreational trails,
Preserve land to protect drinking water, local agriculture, and wildlife habitat,
Develop a housing plan to determine the housing needs of local residents and then use CPA to address those needs (i.e., support housing for seniors; rehabilitate old apartments to create condos to serve young families or small households)
Leverage additional dollars from state, federal, and foundation grant

Where can you find out more?

There will be public hearings in the future to solicit input from city residents on how and where CPA funds should be spent. Community input is key in assuring successful projects! Please visit the city calendar for upcoming meetings..