Monday, October 22, 2012

Somerville 2012 Ballot Questions Information

Somerville residents will find seven questions on the ballot this November. Three are statewide questions, and information on these questions may be found on the State Elections Division website HERE. Below is the text for local questions 4 to 7 exactly as it will appear on the ballot. For more information on voting in Somerville, please visit the City of Somerville Elections Department webpage HERE


Shall the City of Somerville accept Sections 3 to 7, inclusive, of Chapter 44B of the General Laws, as approved by its legislative body, a summary of which appears below?

The Community Preservation Act (hereinafter “the Act”) establishes a dedicated funding source to enable cities and towns to: (1) acquire, create and preserve open space, including land for parks, recreational uses and conservation areas; (2) acquire, preserve, rehabilitate, and restore historic resources, such as historic community buildings and artifacts; (3) acquire, create, preserve, rehabilitate and restore land for recreational use, including parks, playgrounds and athletic fields; (4) acquire, create, preserve and support community housing to help meet local families’ housing needs; and (5) rehabilitate or restore open space and community housing that is acquired or created as provided in this section.

In the City of Somerville, the funding source for these community preservation purposes will be a surcharge of 1.5% on the annual property tax assessed on real property beginning in Fiscal Year 2014, other local funds committed by the Board of Aldermen for community preservation purposes subject to the limitations in Section 3(b)1/2 of Chapter 44B, and annual distributions made by the state from a trust fund created by the Act. The Commonwealth provides these funds only to communities adopting the Act. If approved, the following will be exempt from the surcharge: (1) property owned and occupied as a domicile by any person who qualifies for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in Somerville as defined in Section 2 of the Act; (2) $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property; and (3) $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of class 3, commercial property and class 4, industrial property as defined in Section 2A of Chapter 59. A taxpayer receiving a regular property tax abatement or exemption will also receive a pro rata reduction in the surcharge.

Upon acceptance of the Act by the voters, a Community Preservation Committee will be established by ordinance to study community preservation needs, possibilities and resources, and to make annual recommendations to the Board of Aldermen for approval on spending the funds. At least 10% of the funds for each fiscal year will be spent or reserved for later spending on each of the Act’s three community preservation purposes: (1) open space, (2) historic resources and (3) community housing.



Shall the state senator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a resolution calling upon Congress and the President to: (1) prevent cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans benefits, or to housing, food and unemployment assistance; (2) create and protect jobs by investing in manufacturing, schools, housing, renewable energy, transportation and other public services; (3) provide new revenues for these purposes and to reduce the long-term federal deficit by closing corporate tax loopholes, ending offshore tax havens, and raising taxes on incomes over $250,000; and (4) redirect military spending to these domestic needs by reducing the military budget, ending the war in Afghanistan and bringing U.S. troops home safely now?



Shall the state senator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol?



Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a resolution calling upon Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. constitution affirming that (1) corporations are not entitled to the constitutional rights of human beings, and (2) both Congress and the states may place limits on political contributions and political spending?


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  2. I'd like to know what specific projects are being considered by Somerville under the community preservation act. Last year I watched the Board of Alderman quash a perfectly good proposal by a private party to rehabilitate a house for low-income families. Will any of the Alderman actually allow such a project in their districts? Also, where is the "open space" availabile for making parks,etc.? Which historic resources are in line for restoration? Too many questions right now to vote in favor. This will cost me about $300-400 per year, which I would be happy to pay if I was given more specifics and assured that the money would be used wisely.

    1. Also, it seems that putting a hotel in Davis Square is contrary to any effort to create open space. The farmer's market is a recreational use that should be preserved.

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