Milton voters will get to decide if the town will opt into the state’s Community Preservation Act (CPA) at the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Voters cleared the way for residents to make that choice during the special Town Meeting held remotely on July 28 and 30.
The meeting, held via the Zoom application, also resulted in the adoption of nine other articles that ranged from a new zoning district for Milton Village to one allowing the town to establish 20 mile per hour (MPH) speed limit zones near parks and hospitals.
The CPA measure would allow the town to add a 1 percent surcharge on property tax bills that would then qualify for state matching funds.
The town could then vote to use the money for projects involving open space, historic preservation, recreational uses, and affordable housing.
Town officials said the measure would result in a roughly $82 surcharge on an average property tax bill that would remain in place for at least five years, at which point it could be repealed. Exceptions would be available for elderly and low income residents.
Town Meeting member Tom Callahan said that 177 other communities in the state have already opted into the CPA and the town is missing out on significant matching state funds.
Callahan, an affordable housing advocate, said the state match is funded through increases in fees paid at the Registry of Deeds and the matching is estimated at about 33 percent.
Town Meeting member Sean Fahy was among the residents urging a no vote on the issue, calling it a “forever tax.”
Fahy said the town has other pressing needs, like needed improvements to fire stations and overcrowding in the schools, adding that the tough economic times are not the time to place an additional burden on homeowners.
Parks Commissioner Scott MacKay said the current property tax dollars are needed for operational costs and the town needs funds to address long-term projects that impact the quality of life and the character of the town.
Many others, including Town Meeting member Brian Kelley, urged placing the measure on the ballot to let the voters decide.