WORCESTER – At Tuesday’s City Council Meeting the decision whether to put the Community Preservation ACT (CPA) on the Nov. 6 ballot will be voted on by the City Council.  It has prompted two local city advocates to take action against such a vote.

Gary Vecchio, President of the Shrewsbury Street Neighborhood Association, feels that the group leading this effort, Yes for a Better Worcester, is circumventing the balloting process.  

“The groups pushing for a vote on the CPA are asking the City Council to do their work for them, and that is not right,”  Vecchio said in an email addressed to the City Council members.

Vecchio is not a proponent of the initiative, which if put on the ballot and passed would  apply 1.5% surcharge on property taxes in Worcester. This is an increase that some in Worcester feel is already too high.  But that was not the intent of Vecchio’s e-mail.

“The City Council should not vote to put this on the ballot. Those who believe in the CPA should collect the signatures to get it on the ballot,” Vecchio went on to say.

City Councilor At-Large Gary Rosen supports the initiative, but not the effort.

“I am completely in favor of the CPA being on the ballot this fall,” Rosen said in e-mail. “I prefer [the option] where the many CPA advocates utilize the signature petition initiative process.”

Another resident is taking a more passive aggressive approach by petitioning the council to put one of his own initiatives on the ballot.  

Stephen Quist is requesting that the City Council vote  to place the creation of a City Charter Review Committee on the November ballot as a question to Worcester residents.

Quist has been a long time advocate for a Charter Review and feels that if City Council puts the CPA on the November ballot, they would have no choice but to put his request on as well.

Yes for a Better Worcester recently conducted a survey where almost 85% of the respondents felt that the initiative should be on the ballot.  Vecchio says that those numbers alone should give them the motivation to acquire the signatures needed to get on the ballot.

“If that is the case, I am sure that these many nonprofits which also represent many people who live outside of Worcester, would have no problem at all collecting the necessary signatures in a few weekends alone,”  Vecchio said.

Councilor Rosen agrees.

“The CPA deserves to be on the fall ballot. But, for that to happen, the City Council need not be involved. The proponents simply have to gather the signatures that nearly all groups do when they propose an initiative petition,” Rosen said.

Tuesday’s City Council Meeting will start at 5:30 pm and will be held in the Esther Howland Chamber at City Hall.

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