Affordable housing gets a boost from Concord Town Meeting

By Betsy Levinson betsy@theconcordbridge.org

The special Town Meeting warrant included two articles that passed with little fanfare or debate, along with two that passed under the Consent Calendar.

A pair of Home Rule petitions passed with a show of hands. Article 2 seeks to impose a 1 percent real estate transfer tax on the purchase price of a home exempting the first $1 million. The buyer would pay the tax on the amount over the exemption and the money would go into the Concord Municipal Affordable Housing Trust for the purchase of affordable housing.

Thus if a home is sold for $3 million, the tax would be paid on $2 million, or $20,000. The transfer tax is expected to generate approximately $2 million annually.

A second article sets a building permit surcharge with funds to go into the CMAHT for affordable housing. It is expected to generate some $300,000 to $500,000 a year depending upon the surcharge rate set by the Select Board.

Both articles are seen as ways to generate income for the development of affordable housing without affecting property taxes. 

Passed under the Consent Calendar, Article 1 sought authorization to participate in a statewide program to ban the use of fossil fuels in new construction. Article 4 rescinds about $1 million from the Community Preservation Fund that was to be used for the now-defunct Junction Village housing development and transfers the money to the Community Housing Reserve Fund.

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