CPA NEWS: 12-3-19
A major increase in funds to CPA member towns

The first in a series of news items.

This is the first in a series of news items on “big picture news” concerning the Community Preservation Act.  As you may know, the citizen’s committee “Vote Yes CPA Burlington” plans to bring a warrant article for approval for a ballot question (to be placed on November 2020 ballot) to our Town Meeting in May 2020. The subject of Newsletter No. 1 is the new legislation that was passed in our State Legislature to increase the matching State Trust Fund to the locally collected revenues.  Let us know if you have questions.

What exactly was passed?

The legislation that was passed in the FY20 budget increases the recording fees at the Registries of Deeds which provide revenue to the statewide CPA Trust Fund. For most documents filed at the Registries, this fee was increased from $20 to $50, and the fee for municipal lien certificates was increased from $10 to $25.

How much new revenue will be generated?

The recording fees have brought in approximately $24 million annually to the CPA Trust Fund, and we estimate that will rise to $60 million after the new fees are fully implemented.

When does this take effect?

While the FY20 budget was signed into law on July 31st, the Registries will not begin collecting the new fees until the end of the year. Here’s a breakdown of the timeline over the next few years:

  • December 31, 2019: The increased fees will go into effect at the Registries of Deeds ($50 and $25).
  • October 31, 2020: CPA communities will recieve a Trust Fund distribution comprised of 2 months of revenue at the old fee level (November & December 2019) and 10 months of revenue at the new fee level (January – October 2020).
  • October 31, 2021: The first distribution to CPA communities that will include a full year of new revenue.


What will each community receive with the new revenue in place?

Future distributions from the CPA Trust Fund are impossible to predict, and this is even truer now with the new revenue being implemented. Several factors can affect how much revenue is distributed each year, including the increase in local surcharge revenue in the existing 175 CPA communities, new communities adopting the program, and the level of activity at the Registries of Deeds. However, an estimate by the Community Preservation Coalition for each CPA town says that most towns and cities will receive a matching 33 percent if they are collecting less than a 3 percent surcharge.
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