Danvers CPA: hot topic, cold on cash

Danvers CPA: hot topic, cold on cash

By: Ethan Forman

DANVERS — The Community Preservation Act may be the most controversial issue in Danvers, but it's hardly a race of big moneyed interests.

In campaign finance reports filed on Monday, No CPA in Danvers, the chief group of opponents, said it raised $3,376. 

Community Preservation Danvers, the main group of supporters, reported raising $2,584.

Both groups have spent most of their money. The "no" group had a balance of $524 on Monday, while the "yes" group had $1,010 on hand. 

Both sides are butting heads over Question 5 on the Danvers ballot, which asks voters whether to adopt the Community Preservation Act, and the 1.5-percent tax surcharge on property taxes that comes with it. Money from the surcharge would fund affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space and recreation projects.

Key contributors to the opposition include former Selectman Keith Lucy, the chairman and treasurer of No Cpa, who contributed $456, as well as former Selectman Mark Zuberek, who gave $500. 

Other donors include the Danversport Yacht Club, $300; Ted Kontos, $250; Moore GMC, $200; LRC, a Danvers real estate firm, $200; Town Meeting member Bob Ryan, $100; Acculab, $100; Brothers Deli, $100; Donato Cobuzzi, $100; Fossa building, $100; The Trailer Shop, $100; Pam Bartlett, $100; and Ken and Ellie Hersey, $100. 

The pro-CPA's group got a boost from Diane Langlais, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, with a $499 donation.

Other contributors include Sally Kerans, chairwoman of Community Preservation Danvers, $100; the Danvers Alarm List Company, $100; Martha Driscoll, $50, Paul McNulty, $250; Cynthia King, $50, Keri Smith Holian, $75; Town Archivist Richard Trask, $250; Jackson Tingle, two donations worth $75; Selectman Dan Bennett, $25; Preservation Commission Chairwoman Ellen Graham, $100; Michael Whouley, $250; Michael Grandmaison, $250; Michael Morris, $100; Selectman Gardner Trask, $25; Joan George, $50 and Sandra Lane, $50.

"Every contribution we had, with the exception of one, was from a Danvers resident," Kerans said.

A group called Citizens for Community Preservation made a $1,483 in-kind donation to assist with the adoption of the CPA in Danvers, for such things as helping with presentations at the library and other services.

Outside help

But Lucy complained that it was "ludicrous" that outside experts were helping local CPA advocates, while his group was making its case locally. 

He noted that the nonprofit Trust for Public Land had spent money in Danvers, mailing postcards to residents about the CPA.

Stuart Saginor, executive director of the Community Preservation Coalition, said The Trust for Public Land's postcard mailings "were educational mailers, not lobbying pieces. Per state law, since they are neutral educational pieces, they do not trigger any campaign reporting requirements."

The Community Preservation Coalition is an organization that helps local communities adopt the CPA and advocates for it statewide. The Trust for Public Land serves on the Community Preservation Coalition's steering committee along with groups such as The Conservation Campaign, Mass Audubon and The Trustees of the Reservations.

The Trust for Public Land is sending out educational mailers to other communities where the CPA is being considered, not just Danvers.

"It's not our mailing," said Kerans, who added that the postcards were meant to inform voters about the CPA being on the ballot.