Special Revenue Fund: Community Preservation Act

City of Somerville FY21 Budget

The Community Preservation Act (CPA) Fund was established after the voters of Somerville overwhelmingly adopted the CPA (M.G.L. Ch. 44b) in November 2012. The CPA creates a dedicated funding source for the City to invest in affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space and recreational land projects. Since 2015, over $26 million has been awarded to 79 projects. Key annual revenue sources for the Fund include a 1.5% surcharge on net property taxes, optional discretionary appropriations into the Fund by the City, and matching funds from the state. State matching funds are distributed in November of each year and match total local funding (surcharge revenue and City appropriation) for the previous fiscal year. Somerville will receive its seventh distribution in FY21, which will match FY20 local revenue. The estimated state match of FY21 revenue is $273,184 which will bring the total state funds received to date to $3.72 million. This will be the first year that CPA funds will go towards debt service for the $2.5 million bond issued for the West Branch Library.


The Community Preservation Committee is responsible for implementing the CPA in Somerville, by working with the community to establish priorities for how CPA funding should be spent and making recommendations to the City Council for specific projects to receive funding. The Committee also submits an annual budget to the City Council which is determined in part by the enabling state CPA legislation. The legislation allows communities to devote up to 5% of estimated annual CPA revenue to the administrative and operating expenses of the Committee and requires communities to devote a minimum of 10% of estimated annual CPA revenue to each funding category: affordable housing, historic resources, and open space and recreational land. The Community Preservation Committee is recommending these minimums be increased to 50% for affordable housing, 15% for historic resources, and 20% for open space/recreational land.

FY21 Budget Proposal