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The Division of Local Services, in its annual letter on budget issues and procedures released last week, has forecast that the first round of Community Preservation Act matching grants may reach 31 to 32 percent of the CPA surcharge levied by each of the 142 cities and towns currently in the CPA program.

The CPA matching grants are disbursed annually in October.The DLS letter says that "As a result of recent positive trends in the collection of Registry of Deeds fees that provide state funding for the CPA program, and given the relatively slow increase in the number of cities and towns participating in the program, the Division of Local Services estimates that the balance in the state trust fund will be sufficient to provide a first round match of between 31 and 32 percent of the (CPA) surcharge levied by each city and town."

"This will trigger a second round or equity distribution for those cities and towns that have adopted the maximum three percent surcharge … Please note that these estimates are subject to change depending on Registry collections between now and September."

While it was not unusual for many cities and towns to receive a 100 percent match in the early years of the CPA, declining collections of fees at the Registry of Deeds due to the slowdown in the real estate market (these fees are the source of the state match) combined with greater community participation and hence demand for CPA funds have lowered the percentage match in recent years.

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