Community Preservation Act

 Littleton CommonPhoto by Rick Findlay

Littleton CPA Fact Sheet

The Community Preservation Act (CPA, introduced in 2000) is a tool to help communities preserve open space and historic sites, and create affordable housing and recreational facilities. It is intended to provide municipalities with their own dedicated and predictable source of funding with maximum flexibility to fashion local initiatives that preserve and enhance community character.


  • Matched, dedicated and predictable funds for community preservation, with focus on open space and recreation, affordable housing, and historic preservation
  • Funds can leverage even more state and federal dollars and private partnerships
  • Maximum flexibility in funds’ use for local initiatives decided by local residents
  • Enhanced community preservation, community quality-of-life, and home values

Littleton voted to adopt the community preservation act in 2007.
CPA for Littleton:

  • 1% surcharge on annual real estate taxes
  • Exemptions for low income person or senior with low or moderate income
  • Exemption for first $100,000 value for each taxable parcel of residential property
  • Exemptions for commercial and industrial properties (Farms under 61a)

Example of Cost and How Calculated:

  1. First, apply exemptions for low income, or seniors with low and moderate incomes
  2. For others, a taxable residential property, say valued at $450,000, receives an exemption for the first $100,000 of valuation, leaving a remaining $350,000 value
  3. Next, the remaining $350,000 value taxed at 17.41 per 1000 yields a $6,093.50 bill which would be CPA surcharged at 1% or $60.94 per year or $15.24 per quarter.
  4. Finally, the state would match with up to another $60.94, yielding as much as $121.88 for local CPA initiatives

One third of all Massachusetts municipalities participate in the CPA program. In FY 2006 over $58 million of state funding was distributed to some 102 municipalities based upon those communities’ self-determined level of CPA participation. For the  5 years from 2001-2006, all participating communities have received 100% matching state funds making this one of the state’s best granting programs. The State’s granting funds come from fees paid at the registry of deeds by citizens of the Commonwealth, us. The only way to tap into these funds is by adopting the Community Preservation Act.

Littleton Conservation Trust advocates for the use of CPA funds to acquire open space that fits Littleton’s Open Space and Recreation Plan priorities and that have significant value in relation to our mission.

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