The Community Preservation Committee
The Southwick Community Preservation Committee (CPC) consists of nine members. Five members are voted in to represent their respective committee (Conservation Commission, Planning Board, Historical Commission, Housing Authority and Park and Recreation Committee) and four members are elected by the towns’ people.
Responsibilities of the Committee
The CPC has three responsibilities: develop a community preservation plan, review and recommend Community Preservation Act (CPA) projects and keep records and report on the CPA budget.
The CPC is responsible for studying the community preservation needs, possibilities, and resources of the community including the consideration of regional projects for community preservation. The committee consults with existing municipal boards, including the Conservation Commission, the Historical Commission, the Planning Board, Park & Recreation Commission, and the Housing Authority or persons acting in those capacities, in conducting these studies. As part of this study, the committee is responsible for holding one or more public informational hearings on these needs, possibilities, and resources, notice of which will be posted publically and published two weeks beforehand in a local newspaper. The CPC recommends annual expenditures for initiatives within the four CPA categories to the local legislative body (town meeting).
What does the Community Preservation Act do?
The CPA allows communities to create a local Community Preservation Fund for four categories: open space protection, historic preservation, affordable housing and outdoor recreation. In short, the Town of Southwick raises this money with a local property surcharge of 3% and a yearly distribution from the statewide CPA Trust Fund. The CPA can also issue bonds against their future CPA revenue stream in order to fund large projects when adequate funds are not currently available.
The CPA requires that the community spends, or set aside for future spending, a minimum of 10% of their annual CPA revenues for each of the three categories: open space/recreation, historic preservation, and community housing. Five percent is set aside for administrative funds and the remaining funds are undesignated and can be used for any allowable project.
The CPA is a smart growth tool that is designed to help our community preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing and develop outdoor recreational facilities. Through this effort the CPA also helps strengthen the state and local economies by expanding housing opportunities and construction jobs for the Commonwealth’s workforce and by supporting the tourism industry through preservation of the Commonwealth’s historic and natural resources.