How does the CPA work?

MA state house

The CPA was established by Massachusetts law to encourage historic preservation, open space, and affordable housing.

  • The CPA statute created a statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund, administered by the Department of Revenue (DOR), which provides distributions each year to communities that have adopted CPA.
  • CPA Trust fund revenues are partly derived from a fee placed on all real estate transactions at the state’s Registry of Deeds.
  • These annual disbursements serve as an incentive for communities to pass CPA.
Stack of coins

Cities and towns that adopt the CPA obtain community preservation funds from two sources: 

  • A local property tax surcharge and
  • A yearly distribution from the statewide CPA Trust Fund.
Check and remnants of food on table in restaurant

$60 - $100 per year

How much would the property surtax be?

  • First of all, there are exemptions for age and income.
  • With the first $100,000 exempt from the surcharge, the average homeowner would pay less than $75 per year.

A little bit of from each of us adds up.

How much would CPA generate for Burlington?

  • At a 1.5% rate we will generate over $1.6 million per year.
  • The amount the state contributes varies from year to year, but…
  • The current return is roughly 40%, on each dollar Burlington raises!

How does the money get spent?

  • 10% of the total amount must be set aside each year on the three target areas: historical preservation, open space, and affordable housing.
  • The remaining 70% may be saved or spent on any of the three target areas, so there is a great deal of flexibility on where our CPA will be spent.
  • Up to just 5% may be spent on administrative costs.
  • The town will form a CPA Committee with representation from: Conservation, Planning, Historical Commission, Housing Authority, and Recreation, plus optional at-large members.
  • Town groups, committees or individuals may submit proposals for fund to the CPA Committee.
  • The CPA Committee reviews projects submitted in public sessions and determines which projects would benefit the community.
  • Town Meeting decides on whether to go forward with any project approved by the CPA Committee.
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.