Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Community Preservation Act (CPA)?


The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a well-established funding tool that helps communities enhance and conserve open spaces; improve and restore parks, playgrounds and athletic fields; preserve and rehabilitate historic properties and districts; and identify solutions to meet affordable housing needs. More than half of all Massachusetts communities-- including Boston, Quincy, Braintree, Randolph, Canton, Needham, Wellesley, and Weston-- have adopted the CPA since its inception twenty years ago. Sixty-two percent of Massachusetts residents live in a community that has adopted the CPA. Communities that adopt the CPA establish a local Community Preservation Fund that is reserved for open spaces, outdoor recreation, historic preservation, and affordable housing. Moneys for this fund are raised by adding a modest surcharge to commercial and residential property tax bills. Every year, the state rewards CPA communities by matching a percentage of locally raised funds. State matching funds come from the Massachusetts Community Preservation Trust Fund, which collects revenue from real estate transaction fees imposed by Registries of Deeds. Every Massachusetts community contributes to the state’s Community Preservation Trust Fund, and for the last twenty years, Milton property owners have been paying into this statewide trust fund without receiving its benefits.




What is being proposed?


The YES for Milton campaign is proposing that Milton adopt the Community Preservation Act by adding a modest surcharge to residential and commercial property tax bills beginning in the fiscal year 2022. The average CPA surcharge for a single-family homeowner in Milton would be $83.69 per year, or $20.92 per quarter. Low-income residents and low-to-moderate income seniors would be exempt from this surcharge. Adoption of the CPA does not need to be permanent: If the CPA is approved by voters, the community can hold another referendum in the future to adjust the surcharge, adjust exemptions, or revoke adoption of the CPA.




How can the CPA benefit Milton?


The CPA will provide funds for community-enriching projects that may otherwise never be realized. The Town’s CPA funds may be used to (a) acquire, create, and preserve land for open space, drinking water supplies, and conservation areas; (b) acquire, create, preserve, rehabilitate and restore parks, playgrounds and athletic fields; (c) acquire, rehabilitate, restore, and preserve historic properties; and (d) help meet local affordable housing needs. Open Space Protection

  • Enhancing conservation land by building and improving trails, bridges, boardwalks, kiosks, signs, and parking areas
  • Making open space more accessible by bringing trails and other facilities into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Purchasing and preserving land that is critical to protecting the public water supply
  • Purchasing, planting, watering, and maintaining new trees in areas affected by tree loss following severe weather
Outdoor Recreation
  • Rehabilitation and improvement of outdoor tracks and athletic fields
  • Addition of outdoor amenities to local senior centers, including game tables, benches, walking paths, shade shelters, and bocce courts
  • Creation and improvement of childrens’ playgrounds and play structures, both in public parks and at public schools
  • Purchase and installation of new lighting and fencing for existing parks and other recreational facilities
Historic Preservation
  • Preservation and rehabilitation of historic buildings and structures, monuments, cemeteries, and artifacts
  • Digitization of historic records, newspapers, and municipal documents
  • Application to include eligible sites on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Executing archaeological surveys and property inventories
Affordable Housing
  • Creation and revitalization of housing for low-income families and low-to-moderate income seniors
  • Support of housing and rental assistance programs for qualified residents
  • Development and implementation of a buydown program to create or retain affordable units in properties that are for rent or for sale
  • Development of an interest-free loan program for low- to moderate-income homeowners who must make emergency home repairs to maintain safe and sanitary housing conditions
To learn more about the types of projects that have been funded by the CPA, search the CPA Projects Database here.




Why do we need to adopt CPA now?


  • As the Town of Milton faces challenges related to budget shortfalls and rising housing costs, the CPA will ensure our town has the resources it needs to invest in quality of life initiatives regardless of state funding allocations.
  • Milton has several major projects in the works, including renovation of the Town’s fire stations and revitalization of Milton Landing. Adopting the CPA would provide an additional source of funds to ensure these plans are realized.
  • Too often, projects that benefit all Milton residents must rely on grassroots fundraising campaigns to come to fruition. The CPA would provide an alternative approach to funding these projects, allowing busy residents to focus their time and energy elsewhere.
  • Milton has a shortage of affordable housing, which affords real estate developers with the opportunity to override local zoning bylaws under chapter 40B. In contrast, CPA-funded affordable housing would keep Milton accessible to working families and seniors while maintaining each neighborhood’s unique sense of community and place.
  • Milton families and the Town alike have felt the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CPA would provide the Town with access to vital state funding without imposing an additional financial burden on our community’s most vulnerable residents. Moreover, it would allow the Town to establish a fund to provide emergency housing assistance to residents in need.




How much will the CPA cost?


The average* CPA surcharge for a single-family homeowner in Milton would be $83.69 per year, or $20.92 per quarter. Here are several sample costs: To learn more about the cost to your household, you can use the calculator provided here.




Who is exempt from the surcharge?


  • For all residential, class 3 commercial, and class 4 industrial property owners, the first $100,000 of taxable property value is automatically deducted prior to calculating the CPA surcharge.
  • Low-income property owners, defined as those with annual household incomes up to 80% of the area median income, are exempt from the surcharge.
  • Low-to-moderate income seniors, defined as those with annual household incomes up to 100% of the area median income, are exempt from the surcharge.
Area median income varies according to household size. To determine if your household is exempt from the surcharge, you can use the calculator provided here.




How much money could the CPA generate for allowable projects in Milton?


Communities that adopt the CPA obtain funds from two sources: a local property tax surcharge and a yearly distribution from the statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund. According to FY2020 property assessments, the local property tax surcharge have would generated approximately $717,605 in 2020. Meanwhile, the state Community Preservation Trust Fund contribution would have been approximately $127,016. Overall, the CPA would have generated approximately $844,621 for the Town of Milton in the year 2020 alone.




Who decides which projects are funded?


The Town would exert local control over the CPA Fund through a required Community Preservation Committee (CPC). The CPC members must, by statute, include one member each from the Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, Planning Board, Board of Park Commissioners, and Housing Authority. The CPC may also add up to 4 at-large members from the community. Project proposals would be submitted to and reviewed by the CPC. Following CPC approval, all CPA projects and funding allocations must be presented to and voted upon by Town Meeting.




How can I get involved?


For more information, or to volunteer for or endorse the YES for Milton campaign, contact info@yesformilton.com or visit our Get Involved page.





Paid for by Yes For Milton Committee