Duxbury: Town meeting wraps up-but not without slashing discretionary spending

A very close vote at Duxbury town meeting’s 3rd and final session nearly wipes out community preservation funding.

Eight votes separated Article 39 which was approved by Duxbury voters to drop the Community Preservation Act’s 3% property tax surcharge to 1%. The CPA deals with historic preservation, open space, and affordable housing.  The state now only matches 28% of collected funds from Duxbury taxpayers.

Vice Chair of the Conservation Commission Tom Gill explained cutting two-thirds of town funding will tie their hands, “The cost of land continues to go up and has been increasing pressure on our efforts to buy conservation land because of the increases in the costs.”

However, many Duxbury residents spoke in favor, stating CPA funds have not been properly used in the past and should be selectively spent.

“They’ve been great and you know what? They’re going to continue to have great projects in this town. We’re not killing the CPC. We’re asking the CPC to be more efficient,” said one Duxbury resident

Though voters did approve dropping the surcharge to 1%, the question now goes to a November ballot vote for a final decision.

Voters also approved $100,000 to restore a 300-year-old barn at North Hill Golf Course. Though the barn is town-owned and on public property, it’s not visible to most and not used by the town.

Tom Chapman, who petitioned to cut the CPA surcharge, opposed the article and questioned whether projects are being chosen wisely, “It’s ironic to me that the taxpayers would authorize funds for the restoration of this building when at the same time we are demolishing two buildings on the Blairhaven property both are which are functional and in better condition.”

Work will begin this summer to restore the frame and foundation of the historic barn.

March 24th is Duxbury’s annual town election. Selectman Chris Donato’s term expires this year and he is not seeking reelection.

About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.