Katie Kinne

Boston launches Community Preservation Act calculator

Katie Kinne

The city of Boston launched an online calculator that will give homeowners the ability to enter their address to predict their contribution to the Community Preservation Act if the ballot question passes in November. The Community Preservation Act would create a fund to support affordable housing, historic preservation and open space initiatives in Boston. It would also establish a local Community Preservation Committee to review project proposals and recommend projects to the City Council for approval.

“We are committed to creating a city government that is transparent and efficient for our residents, and this new calculator will give homeowners the ability to easily predict their contribution if the Community Preservation Act passes in November,” said Mayor Marty Walsh. “I look forward to continuing our work with the City Council and our community partners as we study the CPA’s potential to invest in affordable housing, our parks and to preserve Boston’s history.”

Revenue for Community Preservation Fund projects in Boston would be raised through a local real estate tax surcharge of 1 percent beginning in fiscal year 2018. The new online calculator shows what the surcharge would have been using data from fiscal year 2016.

The 1 percent surcharge is applied to a revised net tax owed on the property, not the assessed value of the property. To calculate a revised net tax, the first $100,000 is automatically deducted from the assessment of all properties. Taxpayers do not need to file for this exemption.

Next, any personal and/or residential exemptions, where applicable, are deducted and then the standard tax rates is applied to this reduced value. The 1 percent surcharge would apply to this revised net tax amount.

The funds from CPA would provide a stream of revenue to support affordable housing, historic preservation and open space initiatives. Individual communities can decide on the distribution of funds across the three areas covered under the CPA, as long as each area — open space, historic preservation and affordable housing — each receive at least 10 percent of the total available funds.

New city revenue from the surcharge is estimated to be $16.5 million annually, and has the potential to leverage millions more in state funding every year. The average homeowner would pay an additional $28 per year.