Oct 31
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Voters in South Hadley and a number of other communities, including Boston, Holyoke and Springfield, will have a ballot question on Nov. 8 regarding the Community Preservation Act (CPA). Before casting that vote, South Hadley residents should consider the following questions: 1. Should South Hadley seek all available state funds for community housing, open space, recreation, and historic preservation rather than relying exclusively on local property taxes? 2. Would you consider a 25 percent to 100 percent match on an investment a good return for your money? 3. Should we receive a portion of the community’s deed-recording fees which currently go to 161 other communities but not South Hadley? 4. Should low-income residents and both low- and moderate-income senior citizens be exempt from the CPA surcharge which would be $35 annually per the average South Hadley household?
5. Should South Hadley residents decide which projects to fund through the CPA? 6. Should South Hadley be allowed to withdraw from the CPA at a later date if it chooses? If you answered yes to these questions, then you should also vote yes for the CPA. Why? 1. South Hadley is already contributing to the CPA and receiving nothing in return. Real estate sales in South Hadley fund projects in neighboring communities, including Amherst, Belchertown, Easthampton, Hadley, and Northampton, but not here in our own town. 2. All low-income households, and low- and moderate-income senior households will be exempt. 3. Capital improvements like the roof repairs at the Senior Center and Town Hall and portions of the high school athletic field renovation could have been funded through the CPA. Future projects which are under consideration, including the proposed improvements at Canal Park and the repairs to the entrances at Town Hall could be partially funded by the state, if the CPA is approved. 4. CPA funds cannot be placed in the general fund or used for anything other than historic preservation, open space, recreation or affordable housing projects. 5. To date, 161 communities have adopted the CPA and not a single one has voted to leave the program. They have shared $542 million in state funding, including over $4.3 million for two communities I represent, Easthampton and Hadley. 6. The CPA has strong bipartisan support, including Gov. Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Legislature, which is working to raise the match to a minimum of 50 percent annually. The CPA has been a good decision and wise investment for 161 other communities. It is time for South Hadley to join them. Vote  yes on Question 5. John Scibak, of South Hadley, is the state representative for the 2nd Hampshire District.