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Appointments Made To Springfield Community Preservation Act Committee

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WAMC
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   The members of a new committee who will select which projects will get funded under the Community Preservation Act in the city of Springfield have been announced.

   The nine-member Community Preservation Committee was publicaly introduced Thursday evening by Springfield City Council President Orlando Ramos and sworn in by City Clerk Anthony Wilson.

    Springfield voters last November adopted the Community Preservation Act, a state law that allows for a local property tax surcharge to create a fund to pay for projects involving historic preservation, open space, and affordable housing.  The committee is charged with assessing the city’s needs in those areas and vetting projects.

   State law requires one member each be  appointed by the city’s Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, Parks Commission, Planning Board , and Springfield Housing Authority.  The City Council voted to include an appointee from the Springfield Preservation Fund and to have three appointments made by Ramos.

" Very, very confident that we have a great group of people, a very diverse group of people from every neighborhood," said Ramos.  " There are projects in Indian Orchard people have talked about wanting to get done. Projects in 16 Acres and Forest Park. My goal was to have representation from all neighborhoods."

  The city will start collecting a 1.5 percent surcharge on property tax bills starting July 1st.  It has been estimated that this will increase the average homeowner’s tax bill by $10 annually, while bringing in $1 million every 12 months for the CPA fund.

" I expect to see recommendations once we have a little build up of the fund, more than likely early next year," Ramos said.

  Springfield is a newcomer to the CPA, which had been adopted by more than 160 of the state’s municipalities since 2000.

Committee member Bob McCarroll, who led an advocacy group that campaigned last year for adoption of the CPA in Springfield, said it passed with 62 percent of the overall vote and was approved by voters in all but one of the city’s 64 precincts.

" So if there is something you can say is really a mandate of the people, this is it," said McCarroll. " I hope we will be good stewards of the program  for them."

Angela Robles is the representative of the Housing Authority on the committee.

  "It is an important committee and we are going to make a lot of decisions that will add value to the city," said Robles.

State funds are also available for local projects funded by the CPA.  But the state’s share has been shrinking from year-to-year as more and more cities and towns adopt the CPA.

Boston, Holyoke, and Pittsfield also approved the CPA through ballot referendums last year.

 

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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