Westhampton voters reject Community Preservation Act Fund
WESTHAMPTON — A second attempt to create a local Community Preservation Act fund for town open space, historic preservation, affordable housing and recreation projects failed Tuesday, with voters rejecting Question 5 on the ballot by a vote of 540 against to 464 in favor.
The measure failed by a margin of nearly 10 percent. Voters rejected a previous ballot item for a Westhampton Community Preservation Act by 16 votes in 2001.
The CPA measure would have imposed a 3 percent real estate tax levy on all property in Westhampton to create a fund for projects in the four allowable categories and would have made the town eligible for state matching funds.
Despite a strong track record of CPA-funded projects in neighboring towns, including Northampton, Southampton and Goshen, supporters failed to convince voters to back the measure.
Opponents of a Westhampton CPA, including John Shaw Jr., chair of the town Select Board, cited the impact it would have on property taxes.
Based on the town’s 2012 tax rate of $16.40, residents with homes valued at $200,000 would pay $49 annually for the CPA; those with homes valued at $300,000 would pay $98 and those with homes valued at $500,000 would pay $197.
Member of the town’s Open Space Committee, who led the campaign in favor of the CPA, estimated the program would have generated $70,000 annually for projects such as refurbishing the Town Hall, preserving local farmland and adding affordable housing and recreational facilities.
Westhampton was one of three communities voting on CPA ballot measures on Tuesday.
Since the state’s Community Preservation Act was passed in 2000, 148 Massachusetts communities have adopted CPAs and $1 billion worth of projects have been funded, according to the statewide Community Preservation Coalition.