Officials develop taxpayer guide after passage of law

The assessor’s department has developed a new guide for city taxpayers about the Community Preservation Act and how Salem’s adoption of the law last year will affect property tax payers. Copies of the guide are available in the assessor’s office and on the department’s page on the city’s website, Salem voters in November 2012 adopted the Community Preservation Act, a state law that allows communities to levy a property tax surcharge to support open space, historic preservation, affordable housing, and outdoor recreation. The state provides matching dollars. The city adopted a 1 percent surcharge with exemptions for the first $100,000 of property value. The guide is to help property owners understand how the surcharge is calculated and the requirements for applying for an additional exemption that is eligible for low- to moderate-income seniors and low-income residents. Property owners will begin seeing the surcharge applied on their Jan. 1 quarterly tax bill. The city’s Community Preservation Committee, formed several months ago, will make recommendations to the City Council on expenditures from the preservation fund. The committee plans to seek input soon from the public on the types of projects people would like to see funded.