All but one East End town, Southold, reported a drop in Community Preservation Fund receipts for 2015, according to numbers released by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor).Still, Mr. Thiele believes the numbers reflect a strong East End real estate market.
“Town CPF funds should be flush with cash, allowing towns to be aggressive in protecting lands for open space, farmland, parks and recreation and historic preservation,” the legislator said.
Shelter Island reflects the largest drop in CPF revenues, bringing in $1.98 million in 2015 compared with $2.2 million the previous year. That represents a 10 percent drop in revenues, according to the numbers Mr. Thiele furnished.
Southold took in 8.1 percent more in CPF revenues in 2015 at $6.25 million, compared with $5.78 million in 2015.
As for the other East End towns, East Hampton experienced an 8.6 percent drop from $31.6 million to $28.9 million. Southampton saw a 7.3 percent decrease from $64.7 in 2014 to $60 million in 2015. Riverhead’s decrease was 7 percent, from $3.4 million to $3.2 million.
Despite the decline from 2014, Mr. Thiele pointed out that the 2015 totals are second only to the money raised the previous year.
The CPF system adds a 2 percent tax on the purchase of property in East End towns and has brought in $1.093 billion since its inception in 1999.
CPF numbers are compiled by Kathy Sullivan at Town Hall and it’s those numbers that are provided to New York State Assembly members to report to constituents. Her numbers confirm the 10 percent drop for 2015 from 2014.
Peter Vielbig, chairman of the Island’s CPF Advisory Board, had questioned the numbers because his tallies were based on bank deposits. Those showed an increase in funds, presumably because some 2014 money was likely deposited in 2015, seeming to increase last year’s take while decreasing the amount received in 2014.
For the first time since the fund was launched in 1999, towns receiving CPF money have an option to allot up to 20 percent of receipts for projects involving protecting water resources. The Shelter Island Town Board is currently debating whether or not to allow assignment of some CPF money to that end.