Recently, Mayor Marty Walsh made headlines when he spoke out in favor of the Community Preservation Act (CPA) last Wednesday at City Hall Plaza, alongside Boston City Council members and community leaders.
The CPA is a law that, once adopted at the local level, allows a Massachusetts municipality to add a small surcharge to property taxes. These funds are used to preserve and expand affordable housing options and public spaces, as well as facilitating historic preservation. Walsh’s support was significant, as Boston City Council is deciding whether to place it on the November ballot.
In a press release issued by his office, the Mayor Walsh expressed his support saying: “Our city is growing and thriving, but success has brought challenges-housing costs being one of the greatest. We’ve studied the impacts and benefits, and I believe the Community Preservation Act offers a balanced and timely strategy for helping Boston build affordable housing, invest in our parks, and preserve Boston’s historic and inclusive character.”
If approved by voters, the statute is estimated to generate $16.5 million in revenue annually and is expected to generate millions more in matching state funding every year, while only costing the average Boston homeowner $28 per year. Currently, 160 cities and towns across Massachusetts have adopted the CPA, and more than $1.6 billion has been raised to date for community preservation funding statewide.
This was a big win for CPA advocates, including Council President Michelle Wu, and Councilors Michael Flaherty and Andrea Campbell, who are eager to get Boston behind this influential act. It remains to be seen if voters will support the CPA if it’s on the ballot in November, but we expect leaders in affordable housing, historic preservation, public health and other organizations to make a strong case as Election Day draws closer.