Edgartown CPC approves slate of projects worth $1.15 million

From Left: Edgartown selectman Margaret Serpa, park commissioner Glen Searle, finance committee representative Mort Fearey, historic district commissioner David Thompson and planning board member Alan Wilson held a public hearing in Edgartown Thursday to review applications for CPA funds for 2014. — By Michelle Gross

The Edgartown Community Preservation Committee (CPC) held a public hearing in Edgartown Thursday where they reviewed and approved applications for projects totaling $1,156,172 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds in the 2014 fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2014.

Among the big ticket items, the CPC approved a request for $350,000 that will go towards restoration of the Enid Yandell plaster relief that once hung in the old Edgartown School, $149,000 to help in the effort to move the Gay Head lighthouse, and $108,000 for the Dukes County Regional Housing trust rental assistance program.

Applications for affordable housing projects totaled $423,000, historic preservation $573,172, and open space/recreation came in at $160,000.

The CPC approved all but two applications at Thursday’s hearing.

The MV Agricultural Society’s in West Tisbury request for $6,861 to preserve old records and the MV Museum’s request for $29,120 to preserve whaling logbooks were both denied.

“We received an opinion from town counsel stating that digitization was not preservation or rehabilitation of historic documents,” town administrative assistant Kristy Rose wrote in an email to The Times. “The CPC sends all requests that they think are eligible to town counsel to make sure they are within the confines of the legislation. Sometimes there are surprises.”

The CPC recommendations must still be approved at annual town meeting in April.

The CPA legislation permits towns to collect up to a 3 percent surcharge on real estate taxes to be used to fund projects in four areas: to preserve open space, historic preservation, affordable housing, and develop and maintain outdoor recreational facilities. The state provides funds from fees collected on real estate transaction fees to match the town’s money. Edgartown will receive matching funds totaling 67 percent for the 2014 fiscal year.

All communities that have adopted the CPA in the state will receive a 52.23 percent match from the state on locally raised funds in round one of the allocations, double the 26.6 percent state match from 2012. It will be the highest state contribution since 2008, according to the website of the Community Preservation Coalition, a group promoting the CPA. Communities that adopted the CPA with a full three percent local property tax surcharge receive additional revenue on rounds two and three. The second and third rounds are weighted so that smaller and less affluent communities receive higher funding. Aquinnah and Chilmark are receiving 100 percent matches, Edgartown 67 percent, Oak Bluffs 72, Tisbury 74, and West Tisbury 84 percent, according to state figures.