Councilors Wu and Flaherty discuss tax hike for affordable housing

Caption: Boston City Council President Michelle Wu with Councilor at-large Michael Flaherty at a meeting on Sept. 9 at City Hall. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.) 波士頓市議會議長吳弭和不分區議員法拉提於9月9日在市政府的會議上。(圖片由黃靈美攝。)

Caption: Boston City Council President Michelle Wu with Councilor at-large Michael Flaherty at a meeting on Sept. 9 at City Hall. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

Boston City Council President Michelle Wu held her monthly media meeting on Sept. 9 at City Hall. She was joined by Councilor at-large Michael Flaherty, who discussed his work on the upcoming Community Preservation Act (CPA) ballot measure.

Massachusetts passed the CPA in 2000, which enables adopting communities to raise funds to create a local dedicated fund for open space preservation, preservation of historic resources, development of affordable housing, and the acquisition and development of outdoor recreational facilities. Local legislative bodies must approve adoption of the CPA, which then must pass by a majority when voters go to the polls on Nov. 8. Voters can support a surcharge of up to 3 percent for the fund, which was proposed to be 1 percent for Boston. Massachusetts will provide matching funds from the statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund.

“Should voters pass this in November, Boston will join 160 cities and towns that receive funds from the Community Preservation Trust Fund,” Flaherty said, who has supported Boston’s adoption of the CPA since 2001. “Boston currently contributes to the fund but does not benefit, because we have not passed the CPA.”

Some Bostonians will be exempt from the surcharge, such as seniors and low-income residents, Flaherty said. The Boston Preservation Alliance calculated if CPA was adopted in Boston, the average single-family homeowner will pay $23 each year or $2 per month towards the fund. In turn, the city will generate up to $20 million every year for CPA projects.

Just-cause eviction advocates are working with Mayor Marty Walsh’s administration to develop legislation in Boston. While tenants have strong legal protection, they often are unaware of their rights.

“Tenants in these situations, particularly those facing mass evictions from a new landlord, don’t know they can stay,” Wu said. “The law allows them time to stay and a process, with a notice of eviction not just going to the tenant but to the city and the Office of Housing Stability. The city will reach tenants directly and make sure they know their rights, options.”

Boston has legalized medical marijuana dispensaries, with the City Council passing an amendment on Sept. 7 for a half-mile buffer between dispensaries. The Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Zoning Commission passed the amendment unanimously.

“No medicinal facility can post up next to another one,” Flaherty said. “We’re a city known for colleges, financial institutions and ethnic enclaves. We don’t want a pot zone, we want to make sure marijuana is spread fairly across our communities.”

Boston has legalized medicinal marijuana facilities, but not recreational marijuana dispensaries.

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About Ling-Mei Wong 黃靈美

Editor of the Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in New England 舢舨報紙總編輯。舢舨是全紐英倫唯一的中英雙語雙週報。
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