Burlington CPA FAQ

CPA requires that at least 10% of the funding must be spent on each of the three target areas, 5% on administration, and the balance wherever within the three areas.

Here are some common questions about the CPA. If you don’t find your answers here, please send us an email with our contact form.

There is a wealth of information about details of the CPA, on what other towns have done, what projects have been done, and more at the Community Preservation Coalition Website.

Everyone qualifies for the exemption for the first $100,000 of assessed value. For low-income homeowners and low-to-moderate-income senior homeowners, the income limits for full exemption are currently as follows:

cpa exemptions

Homeowners must apply to the town for an exemption.

Households that qualify for low-income, or low or moderate-income housing, as defined by M.G.L. c. 44B, Section 2 are exempt from the CPA surcharge in its entirety.  The low-income exemption applies to property owners under the age of 60 and the moderate income exemption applies to property owners aged 60 years or older. The area wide median income is determined annually by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Here are examples, by assessed value if we pass a 1.5% surcharge. If we pass at 3%, these charge would double.


A minimum of 10% each year MUST be placed into each of 3 reserve accounts, to assure that each of the three target areas receives ongoing funding:

  • Historical Preservation
  • Open Space and Recreation
  • Affordable Housing

Remaining funds can go to any of the above specific programs based on applications.

Because one funding method for CPA is a fee on all real estate transactions that we already pay. Other towns get our funds now.

One important class is restrictions is that a property that is purchased with CPA funds for a specific use, such as open space or housing, can not be then used for other purposes.

No, a project does not have to be proposed each year.  However, the Town would still receive the State match based on how much monies collected.

Yes. Once adopted, a Community Preservation Act proposal must be in force for five years. After that time, the surcharge percentage and exemptions can be amended through the same ballot-question process.

No, CPA projects take advantage of the state match: any project shifted to CPA would be paid partly by the state funds.  So CPA project free up funding for our other priorities within the same level of local tax collection.

If the state has a surplus, as it has had in the last 3 out of 5 years, the CPA funding increases. The communities with a 3% surcharge benefit far more in surplus years.

surplus vs no with and without 3%

The chart below shows a list of communities near Burlington that use the 3% surcharge, and how much they receive in normal and in surplus budget years: the numbers show what % of the funds they generate that the state matches.

Depending on whether a community is a 3% surcharge town, and depending on whether there is a surplus year, the reimbursement rate could go as high as 37.8%.

wildwood park plan

Burlington will surely benefit from CPA funding as 189 other cities and towns have done.

Here are the ways you can help pass CPA:

Search the CPA Database!

To see many hundreds of other projects funded by CPA you can search their database by topic and by towns.