The amount of applicants for the Community Preservation Act’s pool of money is quite a bit down this year.
Here is the list which easily fits on a single piece of paper.
I’ve noticed that Newburyport Preservation Trust, Oak Hill Cemetery, the Old South and the Religious Society of Newburyport as well as the Belleville Improvement Society and a few other non-profits are strikingly missing from this list.
Of course, as usual; the amount still being requested far exceeds the available funds. For those who are not familiar with how the CPA works, at least 10% of the available money must be devoted to each of four categories: affordable housing, historic preservation, open space acquisition and recreation.
So the money requested for affordable housing is $238,500.00
And the money requested for open space acquisition is $150,000.00
And the money for historic preservation is $279,388.00
And the money for recreation is $595,000.00.*
The Community Preservation Committee has to take all these applications, compare them with the actual criteria for winning a grant, mix in the communities’ needs, and how urgent the funds are needed. Of course, just to make it more interesting; a small dose of political pressure and personal biases are thrown in to make the final decision as to which projects get accepted and to how much to be granted.
Some money must go to each category at least.
Over the years, unlike some other communities where the choices have often proven to be scandalous, Newburyport’s CPC has mostly been a steady, mature and even-handed decision body.
The state matches the funds raised by the 2% surcharge with money that has come from real estate transactions in the Commonwealth. These have gone up quite considerably as the economy has improved somewhat. It is hoped that the amount coming in this year’s match will have increased at least 30% more than last year.
I myself do not envy the members of the board, and the fact that their choices over the years has not elicited a community-wide desire to run them collectively out of town; has reflected on their mature and courageous efforts!
* This by the way is where the battle over funding will have to be settled!