Resolution pertaining to the establishment of a real estate transfer fee
|Official Text of the Article
VOTED: That Town authorize and empower the Select Board, on such date and in such manner as required by the House Clerk, to file a petition for legislation to authorize the Town to levy a real estate transfer tax, which will be considered in the legislative session opening on the first Wednesday in January in the year 2020, provided that the General Court may reasonably vary the form and substance of this requested legislation which shall be within the scope of the general public objectives of this petition.
WHEREAS Brookline is one of the state's wealthiest towns with a median household income, of $111,289 one of the highest in Boston's inner-core and the median for married couples with dependent children is approximately $260,756. Elderly women living alone earn $32,519 per year.
WHEREAS Brookline has the highest median home price of any community in the Commonwealth, at $892,959 and the average market rent is approximately $3,435.
WHEREAS affordable housing is further compounded and complicated by a combination of regional housing demand and constrained supply.
WHEREAS housing owned and or sponsored by the Brookline Housing Authority (BHA) is a necessary resource for sustaining demographic diversity and for sustaining the supply of affordable rental housing in Brookline, and the BHA's properties are in need of significant capital repair, and the BHA in 2018 initiated an extensive Preservation Initiative to renovate its properties.
WHEREAS in view of limits on Brookline revenue growth, there is likely insufficient funding from existing sources for sufficient affordable housing purposes after meeting the Town's existing operational and infrastructure commitments.
WHEREAS the Town of Brookline's Land Bank Study Committee has researched a real estate transfer fee to expand Brookline affordable housing, among the possible purposes. Since the State House, however, will be considering transfer fee legislation for Somerville and Cambridge beginning in January 2020, it is urgent that the Town file its petition at the beginning of this upcoming legislative session so that Brookline may join this official conversation prior the scheduling of the session's hearings.
WHEREAS the Real Estate Transfer Fee, as recommended, to fund the Brookline affordable housing trust fund is equitable, very low impact, and inexpensive to administer.
WHEREAS a real estate transfer fee would be in line with the direction neighboring communities including Concord, Cambridge and Somerville are moving to employ a Real Estate Transfer Fee to create affordable housing.
WHEREAS this type of fee is appropriate to fund nonrecurring expenditures.
WHEREAS a real estate transfer fee earmarked for the affordable housing trust is well suited to operate within the Town's organizational structure and financial policies, and is specifically adapted to and compatible with the unique combination of long established urban and suburban neighborhoods and commercial districts in Brookline.
THEREFORE, the Town of Brookline hereby requests that the Legislature grant the Town of Brookline authority to levy a real estate transfer fee of the portion of the any purchase price exceeding $500,000 upon the transfer of the purchase price of non-exempt real estate transactions, not to exceed 2.0% in aggregate to be paid by buyer and seller. Any agreement between the purchaser and the seller or any other person with reference to the allocation of the liability for the fee shall not affect such liability of the purchaser to the Town. The Town may define by bylaw what constitutes a controlling interest and the calculation of the fee.
And that the Town may authorize certain transfers of real property interests be exempt from the fee including: transfers to the federal government, the Commonwealth, the Town, and any of their instrumentalities, agencies or subdivisions, including the Brookline Housing Authority; transfers to the Brookline Improvement Corporation; transfers of real property subject to an affordable housing restriction; (transfers made without additional consideration to confirm, correct, modify or supplement a transfer previously made; and transfers to a charitable organization, as defined in clause Third of section 5 of chapter 59 of the General Laws, or a religious organization, provided, however, that the real property interests so transferred will be held solely for the production of affordable housing.
And that the Town may use existing property tax collection and billing methods. The fee shall be paid to the Town. The Town shall have such remedies to collect the fee as provided by law with respect to the collection of real property taxes. The Town may, by by-law, adopt additional requirements, exemptions, and regulations to implement or enforce said fee, consistent with this act.
And that the Town may through policy, regulation and or by-law require prioritization of projects that employ sustainable practices which focus on increasing the efficiency of resource use - energy, water, and materials - while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building's lifecycle, through better siting, design, construction, and use.
And that the Town may through policy, regulation and or by-law require prioritization of projects that employ mixed income and mixed-use development as characterized as pedestrian-friendly development that blend two or more residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, and/or industrial uses.
And that the Town shall through policy, regulation and or by-law require prioritization of projects, including renovation projects, that preserve and or expand the supply of housing affordable for low income renter households, and give particular consideration for such projects owned and or sponsored by the Brookline Housing Authority (BHA).
And that the Town shall require a copy of the deed or other instrument evidencing such transfer and shall be accompanied by: (i) an affidavit signed under oath or under the pains and penalties of perjury by the purchaser and seller attesting to the purchase price; (ii) the applicable fee owed or, if applicable, an affidavit of intent to seek one of the permissible exemptions, as described above for that property by the purchaser; and (iii) the basis, if
And that the Town's appropriation of funds into the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Fund under the provisions of MGL Chapter 44 Section 55 C, shall be limited to financing affordable housing and reasonable amounts for personnel and other costs.
And that the Town may prepare and issue an annual report that: (i) identifies fee receipts; (ii) quantifies affordable housing programs funded, including type and purpose; and (iii) evaluates the impact of said affordable housing programs, including but not limited to, to the extent reasonably possible and permitted by applicable law, the number and demographics of individuals and families served as well as measures of housing stability and wealth generation in the community.
And that this Act shall only become effective by a majority vote for a question on a Town election ballot.