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Island bucks trend, recording hike in CPF money

REPORTER FILE PHOTO The Community Preservation Fund collects taxes on real estate sales to spend on open space aquisitions and water protection programs.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO The Community Preservation Fund collects taxes on real estate sales to spend on open space aquisitions and water protection programs.

Shelter Island is bucking the trend when it comes to East End municipalities’ declining Community Preservation Funds. They are down throughout the East End by 14.6 percent for the first quarter of 2017 as compared with the same period last year.

But on the Island, which frequently lagged the other four towns last year, CPF revenues are up by 30 percent, rising from $330,000 for the first quarter of 2016 to $430,000 for the same period this year. Funds come from a 2 percent tax buyers pay to buy East End properties and is used to purchase open space and  fund water protection programs.

Neighboring Southold also saw a rise from $1.48 million last year to $1.78 million this year for a 20 percent hike.

But what brought the overall numbers down sharply for the other towns was East Hampton, which saw a 30 percent drop from $10.12 million in the first quarter of 2016 compared with $6.35 million for this year.

Riverhead and Southampton also declined but by lesser amounts. Riverhead was down 7.6 percent from $790,000 to $730,000 and Southampton declined by 3 percent from $13.19 million for the 2016 first quarter to $12.83 million for this year.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) released the numbers noting that the downward trend has been in effect for the past few years.

“Real estate sales on the East End have plateaued since reaching a record high in 2014,” Mr. Thiele said. In 2016, CPF revenues were 13 percent lower than they had been in 2014 and the decline has continued at the rate of about 7 percent per year.

The number of first quarter transactions was 1,258 this year compared with just eight less a year ago, Mr. Thiele said.

Since its inception in 1999, the fund has generated $1.207 billion and in the past 12 months has brought in $89.94 million.

j.lane@sireporter.com

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