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Island lags in Community Preservation Fund money

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Community Preservation Fund, which takes taxes on real estate sales to spend on open space aquisitions, has lagged a bit.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Community Preservation Fund, which takes taxes on real estate sales to spend on open space acquisitions, has lagged.

While Shelter Island has $5.5 million in its open spaces fund, it continues to lag in terms of money flowing into the fund in February as compared with the same month last year.The money is based on a 2 percent tax property buyers pay that is used primarily for land preservation purposes. But for the first time, Peconic Bay towns may each vote to allocate up to 20 percent of their Community Preservation money for water quality protection.

Shelter Island received $200,000 this year as compared with $360,000 in February 2015, or 44.4 percent less. It was the only East End town to show a decline, according to numbers released by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor).

East Hampton recorded the largest increase of 70 percent, taking in $7.1 million as compared with 4.17 million last year. Southold tool in $1.1 million for a 61.8 percent increase above the $680,000 it got in February 2015.

Riverhead saw a 38.9 percent increase from $360,000 last year to $500,000 this year. Southampton’s increase was 2.4 percent as it took in $9.97 million in February this year, compared with $9.7 million in February 2015.

Overall, the five East End towns saw a 23.3 percent increase in CPF money from $15.32 million in February 2015 to $18.89 million in February this year.
Since its inception in 1999, the fund has generated $1.112 billion to preserve land on the East End, Mr. Thiele said.

“It’s clear that real estate sales on the East End continue to be strong,” Mr. Thiele said. Last year’s harsh winter weather depressed real estate activity in January and February, he said.

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