Below are two short excerpts from the debate. CPA critic Jesus Leyva expresses concern that if property is conserved in a way that removes it from the tax rolls, this effectively results in higher real estate taxes for the remaining owners of taxable property in the city. Mark Wamsley of Save the CPA responds that land can be conserved in ways that leaves it on the tax rolls, and says that preserving open space can save the city money by keeping that land from being developed for houses, which can lead to more children attending the city’s public schools.
Wamsley: “A number of reports have come out looking at what happens to land that is conserved and how it affects the tax roll of the town, and it turns out the most expensive thing that you can do for a piece of land for a town is to build a bunch of houses on it. And it’s tough to say because, when you build houses you have families, and you have kids, and what is the biggest expense to a city, but the school system.”
Below is a handout on the CPA distributed by Katharine Baker, Chair of the Community Preservation Committee.
Videos: CPA Forum and CPC Candidates
Here are YouTube videos covering the 10/26/11 Community Preservation Act forum sponsored by the Northampton Area League of Women Voters. The forum included a panel with defenses and critiques of the CPA followed by a session of candidates for the Community Preservation Committee answering questions (voters will choose among four candidates for two positions on the committee).
“The Massachusetts Community Preservation Act: Who Benefits, Who Pays?”
While the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act (CPA) has generated more than $360 million for affordable housing, open space preservation, historic preservation, and recreation since its passage in 2000, it has resulted in the transfer of tens of millions of dollars from residents of the state’s poorest cities and towns to the wealthiest communities in the Commonwealth.
New Geography: “Why America’s Young and Restless Will Abandon Cities for Suburbs”
Unlike younger adults, who are often footloose and unattached, people between the ages of 35 and 44 tend to be putting down roots. As a result, they constitute the essential social ballast for any community, city or suburb.
Losing this population represents a great, if rarely perceived, threat to many regions, particular older core cities. Rust Belt centers such as Cleveland and Detroit have lost over 30% of this age group over the decade.