No. 48 winter 2000/2001

"No matter what the state of a river, I find beauty, desecration and sometimes a perplexing combination. I am never interested in showing just the beauty or just the mess we've made. Both things are true. Both interest me because they are there." Karen Halverson, noted photographer


     On September 14, Governor Cellucci and Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift signed the Community Preservation Act, providing cities and towns with a mechanism to conserve open space, preserve historic areas, and create low cost housing.

      "Through this legislation we are helping communities strike a balance between development and preservation," Cellucci said at the signing ceremony.

     The Community Preservation Act, which passed following a compromise between the Administration, the Legislature, and preservation activists, gives cities and towns the opportunity to add a surcharge to local property taxes to create and maintain a dedicated revenue stream that can be used for open space and historic area preservation, as well as to provide low-cost housing. The Act also creates a state matching fund of $25 million annually to aid cities and towns with these important goals.

     "By supporting the Community Preservation Act, Governor Cellucci and Lieutenant Governor Swift have signed into law one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation in the Commonwealth's history," said Environmental Affairs Secretary Bob Durand who has championed the bill for the past 15 years.

     Voters in each city and town will decide if a surcharge of up to three percent should be added to their local property taxes. The local option legislation allows communities to exempt certain groups from the property tax surcharge. These include the elderly, disabled, and veterans; people who qualify for low to moderate income senior housing; commercial and industrial properties in communities with classified tax rates; and the first $100,000 of the value of residential real property. For a copy of the Community Preservation Act, go to