News from May 2003 Election: Upton voters recently passed the Community Preservation Act for their community, although it barely squeaked by with the necessary votes for a supermajority. Grafton also passed the CPA in May 2002.
Dynamic Challenges Facing Our Valley
As the Blackstone Valley and central Massachusetts face unprecedented growth and challenges to its economy, the dynamics within each community is facing many positive and negative stresses. Some of the successes are in Grafton with Centech Park or in Millbury with David White, President of RH White Construction renovating the Cordis Mills into market rate and affordable housing that will tremendously benefit Millbury.
But, many residents and natives feel the changes are creating some serious losses of their beloved farmlands, or historical structures falling into disrepair. These needs are underscored by the staggering costs of new huge homes from one subdivision development after another making their way well beyond the I-495 area while the percentage rate of affordable homes plummets. Demands upon local infrastructure become enormous as traffic builds, schools are overpopulated and beloved wetlands are often encroached. Medical waste transfers in Northbridge or the P & W Railroad's Railco waste transfer near the Blackstone River have created large outcries from the community. Recently, the Railco application was withdrawn and in March 2004, the DEP denied the medical waste application.
The Community Preservation Act was passed in the legislature for communities to take a proactive stance towards saving these "quality of life" aspects that make each community so unique. A tax surcharge from .5% to 3% can receive State matching funds (virtually) to fatten the pie and the commitment towards historical preservation, open space acquisition and affordable housing. 10% of the collected funds must be spent on each of the objectives, but the individual community can make choices as to the remaining 70% distribution.
Grafton passed this Act in their Town Meeting of October 2001 followed up by a confirming vote in the May 2002 Election. A middle figure of a 1.5% surcharge was passed and the recent tax bills reflect the small surcharge which adds about $30-40 annually to the average real estate tax. Meanwhile, an appointed committee, representing the various stakeholders, has been meeting to discuss specific objectives towards affordable housing, open space and historical preservation. This Committee also hopes to capture grant monies to enhance completion of the stated goals.
Mendon has also passed this Act at 3% and in early Spring of 2003, Upton voters also approved a 3% surcharge. UPTON approves 3% surcharge for Community Preservation. Sutton has this CPA on its Spring 2006 election ballot.
There are built in exemptions for the lower income and many other details are available at these sites:
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