Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Community Green Fund Act Speaker Tonight

The Conservation Commission will host a guest speaker at its monthly meeting (tonight, 7PM, Council Chambers). The speaker will be Amy Paterson, from the Connecticut Land Conservation Council. She will speak about the Community Redevelopment and Conservation Act (CRCA). This proposal will be considered in the next session of the state legislature.

It would allow municipalities to charge real estate purchasers a conveyance tax which could be used for land preservation, historic preservation, alternative transportation infrastructure, and other projects which enhance the living environment of its residents.

From the Land Conservation Council fact sheet about the CRCA:

The CRCA would allow—but not require—municipalities to establish a conveyance tax (up to 1%) on buyers of real property on the sale amount over $150,000.

These funds are fully retained by the municipality giving local control and flexibility to prioritize local needs.

This resource can be used for the planning and implementation of:
Alternative Transportation Infrastructure
Brownfield Remediation
Clean Air Projects
Energy Conservation
Green Building Retrofits
Historic Preservation
Water Treatment and Storm Sewers
Working Lands and Open Space

This steady stream of income from purchases within the community will help those communities provide the local match requirements for funding opportunities, and to leverage borrowed funds at a reduced rate. The CRCA will augment the value of an investment in the community by enhancing local economies, public health, and the environment.

The text of the Community Redevelopment and Conservation Act:
a) A municipality may establish a buyer's tax on the conveyance of real property, occurring on or after July 1, 2013, at the rate of not more than one per cent of the consideration paid by the buyer in excess of one hundred fifty thousand dollars. Such tax shall be retained by the municipality, shall be kept in a separate account and shall be used for the planning and implementation of any of the following purposes: (1) brownfield remediation, (2) water treatment and storm sewers, (3) clean air projects, (4) energy conservation, (5) alternative transportation infrastructure, (6) historic preservation, (7) green building retrofits, or (8) purchase of development rights to, or acquisition of, open space land, forest land, farm land or waterfront property by the municipality or by the municipality in cooperation with the state or federal government or with a private organization such as a land trust.

(b) Conveyances resulting in the preservation of open space land, forest or farm land shall be exempt from any tax established pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

(c) The tax established by subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to any deeds, transfers or conveyances enumerated in subsection (a) of section 12-498 of the general statutes.


Anonymous said...

what an absolutely awful idea. It sure sounds nice on the surface, but the consequences of further damaging the real estate economy are enormous. Right now, buying land and building has already become a nightmare of red tape, taxes and fees. As property owners we must already pay some of the highest real estate taxes in the nation and now this? People already cannot afford homes. This will only serve to further stunt the growth of a very weak, deathly pale market.

Karen Swartz said...

wrong wrong wrong. This has passed in other states and data has proven that it does not hamper the real estate market. In fact this is a way to attract buyers to the town because buyers like the idea that town has funds in place for the sort of programs this can support. And this is only a push to pass the enabling legislation at the state level. If this passes at the state level, that only means that the cities and towns are then enabled to propose town legislation if they so choose. That could happen soon or never, and it could pass at the municipal level, or it could be voted down. This puts the power in the hands of the local municipalities to govern at the local level. As it is now, the cities and towns are not allowed to levy any such fee. This will just allow the towns to potentially levy the fee if chosen. Even then, it is only on any home value greater than $150,000 and capped at 1%. The town could use a lower rate like 1/2 a percent for example. The money goes into a fund that can be used for important programs that are sorely needed and currently lacking in funding options.