The Tisbury Community Preservation Committee (CPC) reviewed an extensive list of requests for a share of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds and voted on December 9 to recommend a final list. Pending town counsel approval, voters at town meeting this spring will decide on 18 projects totaling $622,000.
Tisbury’s CPC recommended spending $273,500 on affordable housing, $58,500 on open space, $11,000 on recreation, and $264,000 on historical preservation. Another $15,000 will go to administrative costs.
In the Tisbury selectmen’s review of the CPC’s final applications at a meeting on December 3, selectman Tristan Israel expressed reservations about two of the larger requests, $142,693 for a new roof on the old Marine Hospital from the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, and $107,450 to help in the Island-wide effort to move the lighthouse in Aquinnah. Selectman chairman Jeff Kristal noted that $500,000 of Tisbury taxpayers’ money could potentially end up being spent outside the town, on regional projects.
The CPC subsequently whittled down several of the funding requests, including the roof and lighthouse requests to $50,000 each, before voting on them.
Among the approved projects, the CPC approved $100,000 for the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority’s rental assistance program, $75,000 for restoration of Grace Church’s bell tower, $35,000 to dredge Tashmoo Spring Pond, $17,000 for town hall preservation, and $15,000 for town records preservation.
The CPC did not approve two applications on the final list, including $32,000 for side window restoration at the Stone Church and $15,000 for stained glass window restoration at Grace Church.
The CPA legislation permits towns to collect up to a three percent surcharge on real estate taxes, to be used to fund projects in four areas: to preserve open space, for historic preservation, for affordable housing, and to develop and maintain outdoor recreational facilities. The state provides funds from fees collected on real estate transaction fees to match the town’s money.
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) announced an increase in the state’s matching CPA funds in November, because of surplus state funds from last year directed to the CPA account by state legislators.
The additional funds come from real estate deed recording fees collected by the state. These fees have increased as a result of the improving real estate market. Tisbury would receive a 74 percent match, $322,037, in 2014, up from $162,724 in 2013. However, that announcement came after the CPC went through its review process based on a 26 percent match from the state, as instructed in a previous memo from the DOR, town accountant Suzanne Kennedy said. The additional money will be spent next year.