Propose a Community Preservation Act Project

The FY2024 CPA grant application window has closed.

What is CPA?

The Community Preservation Act (CPA), adopted by Amherst voters in April 2001, established a local fund based on a 1% tax surcharge (later amended to 1.5% and then to the full 3%) on property valuations above $100,000:

"for the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space; for the acquisition, preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of historic resources; for the acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational use; for the acquisition, creation, preservation and support of community housing; and for the rehabilitation or restoration of open space, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created." 

The law also established a State Trust Fund, from which annual allocations are made to towns that have accepted the Act, partially or fully matching local appropriations. Local allocations are currently being matched by the state at between 15-20% for the initial round of funding, resulting in a projected total amount for distribution of approximately $1,000,000 for Fiscal Year 2022 (July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022).  Please remember that it is possible for Town Council to authorize long-term borrowing and then use future CPA funds to pay off the debt.

What is the CPA Committee?

The Community Preservation Act Committee (CPAC) is charged with assessing the needs of the Town in those areas identified by the Act and recommending relevant expenditures to Town Council.  By state law, CPA funds are to be spent only on community housing, historic preservation, open space, and recreation.  A minimum of 10% of the available funds (from the surcharge and the state match) must be set aside each year (although not necessarily spent) for each of three categories of community housing, historical preservation, and open space.  Recreation is the fourth recipient, or beneficiary, but is not mandated to receive the minimum 10%.

Project TypeOpen SpaceHistoric PreservationRecreationHousing
Rehabilitate and/or RestoreYes (if acquired or created with CPA funds)YesYesYes (if acquired or created with CPA funds)

Is my project eligible for CPA funds?

The Committee intends to develop recommendations for funding to be considered by Town Council in the spring.

How do I propose a project to the CPA?

The CPA Application Window closed on September 30, 2022.  The CPAC will ask the relevant boards, commissions and committees for their input on proposals and encourages applicants to consult with them before submission.  Typically, we refer open space proposals to the Conservation Commission, recreation proposals to LSSE, historic preservation proposals to the Historical Commission, and community housing proposals to the Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust and the Amherst Housing Authority.

The Committee plans to schedule presentations of projects at our meetings in November and December.

The Committee expects recipients of funds for Projects to report back in writing annually about the progress of the project. Projects must be completed in a timely manner and unspent funds returned to the CPA Fund.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

  1. Feasibility of project;
  2. Documentation of estimated costs;
  3. Available funding:
    • possibility of multiple sources of funding,
    • expectations for need of additional funding in future years,
    • lack of other funding sources if applicable;
  4. Estimated timeline from receipt of funding to start and to completion of project;
  5. Urgency of project;
  6. Acquisition and/or preservation of threatened resources;
  7. Population(s) to be served;
  8. Plan for how project will be maintained over time;
  9. Priority ranking of project set by relevant Town boards, committees or commissions.

Submission Process

  1. Complete the online application by the deadline (early submissions of proposals are encouraged to give the CPA Committee time for review and to receive information from relevant Town boards and commissions)
  2. The receipt of your proposal will be acknowledged
  3. CPAC may submit written questions to you
  4. Public presentations before CPAC will be scheduled for October and November
  5. CPAC votes on proposals and submits recommendations to Town Council
  6. Town Council votes on proposals

Please contact the CPAC at should you have any questions.