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Island shows boost in Community Preservation Fund revenues

REPORTER FILE PHOTO he Community Preservation Fund, collects taxes on real estate sales to spend on open space aquisitions.

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

While the first month of 2017 saw an overall downturn in Community Preservation Fund revenue among the five East End towns, Shelter Island booked a 160 percent increase from what was reported in January 2016.The money is collected from a 2 percent tax paid by buyers of properties in the five East End towns and is used to purchase and preserve open space.

The numbers released by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) showed Shelter Island receiving $130,000 last month as compared with $50,000 in January 2016.

But only Riverhead joined Shelter Island on the plus side, bringing in $310,000 this January as compared with $25,000 last January.

The other three East End towns all dropped in CPF money this year.

“Real Estate sales on the East End have plateaued since reaching a record high in 2014,” Mr. Thiele said. CPF revenues in 2016 were 13 percent lower than the program’s highest yield in 2014, he said.

It has declined about 7 percent per year during the last two years, he said, noting the sharpest declines came in East Hampton and Southampton on the South Fork.

For all five town, CPF revenues totalled $6.94 million this January while they were at $8.93 million the previous January. Overall, that represented a 22.2 percent decrease from January 2016.

Since its inception in 1999, the CPF money has brought in $1.194 billion that the towns have been able to invest in land preservation, Mr. Thiele said.

Last November, voters in all five towns approved resolutions allowing up to 20 percent of CPF revenues to be used for specific water quality projects.

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