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CPA Updates: Acton Ruling & Latest Trust Fund Matches

There has been a lot going on in the world of the Community Preservation Act lately. From a ruling in the Caplan v. Town of Acton suit to the Department of Revenue releasing an estimate for the CPA Trust Fund match, there is a lot of news! So here are some quick yet very important catch ups.

Caplan vs. Town of Acton - Update

A 10-tax payer lawsuit filed in Acton in 2016 challenged the use of CPA funds on an historic church (that included religious imagery) as a violation of the Massachusetts' Constitutions anti-aid provision. The lawsuit progressed through the court system up to the State Supreme Court. Preservation Massachusetts along with many of our preservation partners including Historic New England, Boston Preservation Alliance, Historic Boston, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Community Preservation Coalition and the Attorney General's Office submitted amicas briefs in support of using CPA funds on religious properties. The funds were directed to preservation and restoration work on the building, and not in direct support of the religious organization.

The court thought differently. Last month a "splintered" court ruling came down from the Supreme Court that favored the 10-taxpayer plantiffs, and sort of muddied the waters for religious organizations seeking public preservation funds for work on their historic buildings.

At our most recent Massachusetts Preservation Coalition meeting, we were joined by attorney M. Patrick Moor from Hemenway and Barnes, LLP, who helped draft one of the amicas briefs. He created a great 2 page summary of the ruling and it's impact going forward. The only thing that is for sure is that nothing is totally clear and a lot remains to be seen as the case is now appealed back to Superior Court.

Is your head spinning yet? We will keep you posted on this as we hear new developments and impacts on other important programs like the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund that have granted funds to historic religious buildings.

Read the summary and next step document.

DOR's CPA Match Estimate

DOR released their estimate for the 2018 trust fund distribution: a record low 11.5%. Here is the actual update:

The Department of Reve