- Sturbridge is currently $4.3 million dollars in long-term CPA debt due to the completion of four very worthwhile but expensive CPA projects. Final payoffs on that debt are the years 2017, 2026, and 2030.
- The 3% CPA Surcharge is ON TOP OF the current tax rate of $17.63 (less the first $100K of property value.) The chart below puts it into perspective: our town has the second highest property tax rate in comparison to nine surrounding communities. From a home buyer perspective, Sturbridge’s property taxes are off-putting.
- We need to revoke the Community Preservation Act and stop new spending….NOW.
- Currently, our annual CPA debt service exceeds our annual CPA Surcharge Revenue: the anticipated 2012 Surcharge Revenue is $360,000; the annual debt service is $413,482. *The Massachusetts Department of Revenue has opined that when communities consider borrowing for large CPA projects, the debt service should not exceed the SURCHARGE REVENUES – but Sturbridge’s does.
- When the CPA was adopted, the state match was at 100%. Now, the match is 23%; as more towns adopt the CPA, the percentage of state matching funds declines.
Why revoke the CPA?
Reason 1: We are $4.3 million in CPA debt that we must pay until 2030. We do not feel it is appropriate to fund new projects, especially in light of the 2011 natural disasters and the town’s current budget situation. The CPA can be brought back by voters at a later date if they so choose.
Reason 2: In addition to the annual 3% Surcharge Revenue, the town relies on other Community Preservation Fund balances that are carried forward each year to pay the long-term debt; but those funds are also being spent on new, smaller projects. For example, at the June 2011 Town Meeting, voters approved $58,000 in four smaller projects plus $15,000 for administration – should that money be saved for when the state-match is reduced or depleted? Or can it be used to more quickly pay down the long-term debt principal and interest?
Reason 3: Taxpayers need a break! We cannot revoke the 3% surcharge until the debt is paid; but we can revoke the Community Preservation Act and stop new projects from coming forward. We can stop further debt build-up, and we can stop using funds on new, smaller projects that deter funds away from our current debt.
|FY 2012 Property Tax Rates (All communities except Webster have a single tax classification)|
Rates are per $1,000 of assessed valuation (Source: MA Department of Revenue)
|Brimfield $14.48||Brookfield $16.45|
|Charlton $12.00||Dudley $10.90|
|East Brookfield $14.22||Holland $15.18|
|Spencer $12.28||Southbridge $17.83|
|Sturbridge $17.63 (+3% Surcharge, less $100K exemption)||Webster $11.78 (Residential) $18.47 (Comm’l & Industrial)|