The first two months of 2017 have continued the downward trend in terms of Community Preservation Fund money going into East End town coffers for land and water preservation projects.
That’s the word from Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) who passed the legislation back in 1998 that created the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund to amass money for land preservation in an effort to protect the character of the area. The money is generated by a 2 percent tax property buyers pay and until this year, was used only to preserve land on the East End.
As a result of a referendum in each of the five East End towns last November, up to 20 percent of CPF income can be allocated by each municipality for specific projects aimed at water protection.
Mr. Thiele noted that between 2014 when the fund hit its highest level to 2016 when it began to hit a plateau, the fund has declined by 13 percent.
Overall for the first two months of 2017 as compared with the same period last year, revenues were down by 21.8 percent, Mr. Thiele said.
“The decline is most pronounced on the South Fork,” Mr. Thiele said.
Shelter Island, which took in $200,000 in the first two months of 2016, has brought in $190,000 for the same period this year, a decline of 5 percent. But other East End communities showed higher declines.
In East Hampton, CPF revenues were down 44.1 percent from $7.12 million for the first two months of 2016 to $3.98 million for the same months this year.
Southampton was down 10.3 percent from $9.97 million in 2016 to $8.94 million this year.
Only two of the five East End towns showed an increase with Riverhead picking up $540,000 in CPF revenues for the first two months this year as compared with $500,000 for that period in 2016. That made for an 8 percent hike this year.
Southold saw a 2.7 percent increase in CPF revenues this year at $1.13 million as compared with $1.1 million for the first two months of 2016.