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Preservation revenues decline in four of five East End towns

REPORTER FILE PHOTO

Community Preservation Fund (CPF) income for the first two months of 2019 decreased from the same period last year by 28.9 percent, according to a statement issued by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor).

Money for the CPF comes from a 2 percent tax that buyers pay when purchasing East End properties and is used in turn to purchase open space for preservation and  fund water protection programs.

For all five East Towns, revenues totalled $11.98 million while in 2018, revenues were at $16.86 million.

Shelter Island CPF revenues were down by 34.5 percent, from $290,000 in 2018 to $190,000 this year. All other towns except Riverhead were similarly down.

Riverhead was the only town showing an increase, a 35 percent boost from 2018. The town took in $540,000 this year, while it had $400,000 for the same two months of 2018.

Southampton showed a drop of 39.6 percent this year, going from $10.06 million last year as compared with $6.04 million this year. East Hampton’s revenues were down by 15.6 percent this year from $4.85 million last year to $4.09 million this year.

Southold also experienced a decline with its CPF revenues at $1.07 million for the first two months of 2019 as compared with $1.26 million last year, a drop of 15.1 percent.

“It is impossible to determine trends based on two months of CPF revenues,” Mr. Thiele said. To begin to assess a trend it would take at least a quarter of the year and March numbers won’t be out until late April.

When those numbers are available, they can provide an early indication of whether the numbers to date this year are an aberration or a significant change in the real estate market, the legislator said.

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