Question 4 on the November 6 ballot seems to be something of a hot-button topic for some Somerville voters.
It asks residents whether or not the city should adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA), initially enacted in 2000 by then-Governor Cellucci, allowing communities to create a Local Preservation Fund to raise money through a surcharge on property taxes of up to 3 percent for open space protection, historic preservation and the provision of affordable housing. The City of Somerville has proposed a surcharge of 1.5 percent, which, in accordance with the state law, will be assessed on each piece of taxable real estate in the city.
The knee-jerk reaction by many of us when it comes to raising taxes and fees at any time is often terse and immediate: just say no. Very often this can be a justifiable response.
In this case we ask our fellow voters to consider the pros and cons of this proposal carefully. While it is never a pleasant business to levy additional fees of any kind, there are times when the benefits may outweigh the negatives and are well worth the costs.
The monies generated by the adoption of the CPA could provide much needed funding for programs that will greatly enhance the quality of life for all Somerville residents.
This is something that should be considered carefully.