Viewpoint: An Act to Sustain Community Preservation

My article on Senate Bill 90 (An Act to Sustain Community Preservation) was released today in the October issue of New England Planning (the newsletter for the MA and RI chapters of the American Planning Association).   See "Viewpoint by Jennifer M. Goldson" on page 13 of the newsletter. An excerpt:

Faced with shrinking budgets and struggling to make ends meet, how can cities and towns strive do anything beyond providing basic services?  But, cities and towns should also play a key role to further regional and state smart growth goals and preserve their community’s singular character.  . . .

Our state recognizes that municipalities just can’t afford to meet these lofty - but worthy - goals out of their regular budgets.  

In fact, Massachusetts is a national pioneer on this front; its innovative legislation to foster local community preservation efforts, the Community Preservation Act (CPA), turned nine years old on September 14th.  . . 

All is Not Rosy for CPA

Despite these impressive achievements, the CPA could be in jeopardy if the legislature does not take action soon. . .

After six straight years of dollar for dollar matches on local surcharge revenue, the state trust fund distributions will dwindle to a base match estimated at only 30 cents to the dollar in October 2009.  The program has become so popular that the trust funds, under the current collection formula, are not enough to meet current demand, let alone sustain growth.