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Island 2017 CPF revenues are flat

COURTESY PHOTO Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor)

COURTESY PHOTO Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor)

Shelter Island real estate professionals who predicted a strong fourth quarter of 2017 after three weak quarters were correct.

When all the money from the Community Preservation Fund resulting from a 2 percent tax on property buyers reaches town coffers, a total of $2.02 million will be available — 80 percent for potential open space land purchases and the remaining 20 percent for water quality projects.

After deficits in the first three quarters of 2017 and a weak November, Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board Chairman Gordon Gooding had anticipated revenues would be down by the end of 2017.

Real estate professionals knew what they had in the pipeline, but they weren’t certain until now that enough closings would have occurred to erase the gap. They cautiously predicted that a lot of December sales would not be calculated in 2017, but recorded instead in the first quarter of 2018.

But closings were more rapid than expected.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), who announced the data, said CPF revenues throughout East End towns increased by 2.3 percent, the fourth highest annual total in the 19-year history of the program. The total revenues were at $95.9 million for all of 2017 as compared with $93.72 million for 2016.

Only East Hampton experienced a decline, dropping to $26.65 million for 2017 as compared with $26.89 million in 2017. That represented a decrease of almost 9 percent.

Riverhead experienced the highest percentage increase of 8.3 percent in 2017, bringing in $3.67 million  as compared with $3.39 million in 2016.

Southold saw a 7.3 percent increase in 2017 CPF revenues, bringing in $7.16 million, compared with $6.67 million the previous year.

Southampton saw a 3 percent increase in 2017, with $56.41 million as compared with $54.76 million the year before.

Since its inception in 1999,the Community Preservation Fund has generated $1.283 billion, Mr. Thiele said.

“Real estate sales on the East End were strong in 2017,” the legislator said.

He advised local officials to closely monitor CPF revenues this year in view of the new federal tax law. The federal cap on $10,000 on federal deductions for state and local taxes and changes in the mortgage interest deduction for new mortgages that reduces mortgage debt deductibility for $1 million to $750,000 could all affect CPF revenues this year, Mr. Thiele said.

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